Here’s a quick tip for you: Missouri will scare the heck out of the SEC East – especially when they play teams at night in Farot Field. Remember: This is a team that’s beaten No.1s in the past on home turf (Ohio State and Oklahoma in a monster night games in front of a rabid, unforgiving crowd) and really, really wants the chance to do more damage in the future. I spoke to a buddy at Georgia about his team’s chances and he said: “We’re scared. Missouri aren’t going to take any prisoners and our guys certainly picked a time to get thrown off the team and eat hash brownies”. I think we could echo that.

But anyway, this is Missouri’s preseason preview. And if you don’t like it, you’re welcome to call me stupid….or words that effect.

What happened last season?

The Tigers lost one of the best games early on in the season when they lost at Arizona State on a stunning Friday night in front of a raucous crowd, adding more fuel to the fire that if you wanted a great game of college football, you HAD to make sure that Joe Tessitore was commentating. That game apart, the biggest thing that Tigers really did was to gain headlines for their coach, Gary Pinkel, who was arrested for drunk driving in a stupid move towards the end of the season. Really, though, the 8-5 Tigers won the easy games on their schedule and lost the hard ones (although they ensured they would be a part of the RGIII story by losing 42-39 at Baylor).

And in the draft, tight end Michael Egnew was the only player from Missouri selected. He was chosen by the Miami Dolphins, where apparently he’s struggling at fall camp.

Is James Franklin OK?

The big question on ALL Mizzou fans’ lips is: Will dual threat quarterback James Franklin be OK to start the season? The Tigers had better hope so. Last season Franklin was sensational, passing for over 2,800 yards and rushing for another 980, and he was responsible for 36 touchdowns. Unfortunately, he injured his throwing shoulder and despite Pinkel’s- and his own – insistence that he’ll be ready for the home opener against Southeastern Louisiana, a lot of people are worried.

Otherwise, if you didn’t know the name Corbin Berkstresser, you should start looking up his YouTube highlights….just in case.

Bring me your receivers….

T.J. Moe brought the house down at the recent SEC Media Days with his non-stop patter of one-liners, which immediately put him in the reporters’ good books (the words “refreshing” and “fantastic” were two quotes that came to mind from the writers who were tired of goddawful boring press conferences), and he can catch a ball too (649 yards and 4 TDs last season). He’ll team up with the No.1 recruit in the country Dorial Green-Beckham (who apparently Pinkel is already seeing improvement in), who’s 6 ft 6 and is going to scare the beejesus out of any safety or cornerback – if he makes the plays properly. Although some people believe that DJB isn’t going to be the B.I.G. this year, yours truly will be LMFAO if that’s the case. Truly, we think he’s something special. And there’s also receiver L’Damian Washington and Marcus Lucas to give Franklin options, too – which he’ll need against SEC defenses.

And running the ball?

With a knee injury to Henry Josey, who ran for 1,168 and 9 TDs last season putting the star running back out for the year, a lot of pressure is going to be Kendiall Lawrence (566 yards, 5 TDs) and Marcus Murphy to produce. Pinkel’s going to worry – as well he should – about giving more of the running game to Franklin – especially with Franklin’s shoulder which will be tested against Georgia (less so about SE Louisiana, we believe). In other words, Josey’s injury is going to really, really hurt an offense that ranked ninth in the nation in rushing last year.

On the other side of the ball…

Defensively, Missouri did what almost all Big XII teams did last season…..not play very well. The Tigers ranked 44th overall for points against, giving up 23.5 pts per game. There are going to be a lot of eyes on Sheldon Richardson and Shane Ray – the latter whom Phil Steele has called a “great speed rusher” in his 2012 preview. The Tigers have got an experienced linebacking corps in Andrew Wilson, Zavier Gooden and Wil Ebner, which they hope will be able to stop the likes of Eddie Lacy and other speedy SEC running backs.

And cornerbacks-wise, we’re always in the mood for a good-news story from the secondary (after having so many bad news ones with Tyrann Mathieu), so E.J. Gaines might be it. He’s one of the country’s best at breaking up passes (he had 16 last year).

The 2012 schedule


September 8 GEORGIA

September 15 ARIZONA STATE

September 22 at South Carolina

September 29 at UCF


October 13 ALABAMA

October 27 KENTUCKY

November 3 at Florida

November 10 at Tennessee

November 17 SYRACUSE

November 24 at Texas A&M

Run-down: Missouri jumps into the SEC in the second game of the season with Georgia, who many believe will reach their second straight National Championship Game. Farot Field at night is somewhere frightening to play – hence why the Tigers have got a 47-14 record there over the last 10 years. This is the game where we’ll see how good Missouri is – especially against a Georgia team which could still be finding their feet post-Crowell and suspensions to some of their best defensive players. However, Missouri’s not a great traveller, and we can see the Tigers losing at South Carolina before finding their feet against UCF and Vanderbilt. The games against Alabama, but the home game against Kentucky and trips to new SEC East rivals Florida and Tennessee could decide whether Missouri will go to a bowl game this year – because we see them beating Syracuse on their last home date of the season. Oh, and mark Nov 24 at Kyle Field against Texas A&M in your diary – particularly if both teams have got to fight it out for bowl eligibility.

PREDICTION:┬áDespite the up-and-comingness of UCF, we expect Missouri to go 3-0 in its non-conference games this year. We also expect the Tigers to beat Kentucky and Vanderbilt, who they have at home. But can they beat Georgia? Or Alabama? Or turn around last season’s dreadful away record (they went 1-4) and win one out of Florida, Tennessee or South Carolina? We think the Tigers are going to end up 5-7, with a ‘shot in the dark’ ┬áloss at Texas A&M (that’s because we predicted they would lose in A&M’s preview). This won’t be bad news for Pinkel in his first season in the SEC, but Tigers boosters will definitely try to make sure this won’t become a theme.



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