2008 CFN Missouri Preview |
2008 Missouri Depth
2007 CFN Missouri Preview |
2006 CFN Missouri Preview
Interested in blogging
about Big 12 football?
Missouri had what it took to get
into the V.I.P. lounge, but does it have what it takes to stay?
For years this was the program on the verge. Head coach Gary
Pinkel put together strong team after strong team, but there was
always a collapse here and an underwhelming performance there
that kept the Tigers from turning into a player. That all
changed last year.
Head coach: Gary Pinkel
8th year: 49-37
18th year overall: 122-74-3
Off. 14 Def. 22, ST 1
Lettermen Lost: 19
Ten Best Tiger Players
1. QB Chase Daniel, Sr.
2. WR/KR Jeremy Maclin, Soph.
3. FS William Moore, Sr.
4. TE Chase Coffman, Sr.
5. LB Sean Weatherspoon, Jr.
6. DE Stryker Sulak, Sr.
7. DT Ziggy Hood, Sr.
8. LB Justin Garrett, Sr.
9. PK Jeff Wolfert, Sr.
10. LB Brock Christopher, Sr.
Illinois (St. Louis)
2008 Record: 0-0
Sept. 6 SE Missouri State
Sept. 13 Nevada
Sept. 20 Buffalo
Sept. 27 OPEN DATE
Oct. 4 at Nebraska
Oct. 11 Oklahoma State
Oct. 18 at Texas
Oct. 25 Colorado
Nov. 1 at Baylor
Nov. 8 Kansas State
Nov. 15 at Iowa State
Nov. 22 OPEN DATE
Nov. 29 Kansas (Kansas City)
2007 Record: 12-2
(St.L) W 40-34
at Ole Miss
13 at Oklahoma L 41-31
3 at Colorado W 55-10
at Kansas St W 49-32
(in KC) W 36-28
Big 12 Championship
Dec. 1 Oklahoma L 38-17
Jan. 1 Arkansas W 38-7
Helped by a slew of JUCO transfers on defense, the full maturation of
several talented players on offense, a Heisman-finalist season from QB
Chase Daniel, and a bolt of lightning from freshman receiver and kick
returner Jeremy Maclin, Mizzou put together one of the best seasons in
school history with a No. 1 ranking and a shot to play for the national
title before Oklahoma ended those dreams in the Big 12 Championship.
While there are some big
concerns in the linebacking corps, the leading rusher (Tony Temple) is
gone along with the leading receiver (TE Martin Rucker), and the
offensive line loses its two best players (Tyler Luellen and Adam
Spieker), there's no reason to believe the program is ready to do
anything less than contend for the Big 12 title.
However, this is Missouri.
It's right to be skeptical. After all, this isn't exactly a place that
oozes with an impressive football tradition. Whether or not last year
was a fluke will be the big question in the Big 12. The league, from top
to bottom, has improved, and it's not like the Tigers are going to be
able to just show up and waltz through the North like it did for most of
Pinkel isn't going to let anyone get comfortable. The positive side of
losing the Big 12 title game, and being screwed by the BCS system, is
that the team and program from the top down appears to understand that
nothing was actually accomplished last year outside of having a lot of
fun and coming up with a big record. Having a core of excellent veterans
returning will keep the rest of the team from being satisfied.
Does Mizzou have staying power? That remains to be seen over the long
haul, but it still belongs in the discussion of the elite of the elite
teams for this season.
What to look
for on offense: More from the running backs ... sometimes. It's not
like the ground game was ignored last season with Tony Temple tearing
off, 1039 yards and 12 touchdowns, but the Tiger attack was based around
Daniel and the aerial show. While Daniel has a vast array of weapons to
work with, and the passing game will still be the first option, there
are several good backs ready to carry more of the workload. Daniel can
run the ball, but the less he has to take a hit, the better.
expect on defense:
A concern in the linebacking corps. The Tigers were supposed to be
loaded here, but two promising backups are now off the team, the star of
the show, Sean Weatherspoon, has a banged up shoulder, and Van Alexander
has a torn ACL. There's little developed depth, so a rash of injuries
early in the season could mean the difference between a Big 12 title and
This team will be a lot better if… there's a steadier pass
rush. It wasn't bad last season, but it could be better. Stryker Sulak
is an All-Big 12 pass rushing force, and there's good quickness across
the line; now there needs to be more production. The corners are
experienced, but average. The could use a little more help from the
front four, especially if the linebacking corps is an issue in any way.
year at this time, starting the season off against Illinois didn't seem
like that big a deal. Now it's like a BCS game. Nevada is a good team,
but it has to come to Columbia along with SE Missouri State and Buffalo
before an off week. All things considered, outside of a trip to Texas,
the Big 12 slate isn't all that bad getting Baylor and Oklahoma State
from the South and hosting Colorado and an improved Kansas State. Iowa
State is better, but that's not a horrible road trip. There's a week off
before the regular season ender against Kansas in Kansas City.
Best Offensive Player:
Chase Daniel. Technically, Maclin is the team's best all-around weapon,
and possibly its best pro prospect, but Daniel is the signature star who
makes the machine go. His emergence as a steadier all-around passer, and
his ability to use his weapons more, took the offense from good to
unreal. He makes everyone around him better.
Best Defensive Player:
William Moore. With 6-1, 230-pound size, cornerback speed, and an
uncanny nose for the ball in both the running and passing games, Moore
is a tremendous pro prospect who'll be one of the Big 12's signature
defensive stars. He's a do-it-all playmaker who has to be accounted for
on every play.
Key player to a
Senior CB Castine Bridges. Or sophomore CB Carl Gettis. Two corners with
good starting experience are back, but one has to emerge as a true
shutdown defender. Bridges is the bigger and more experienced of the two
having seen time in the JUCO ranks, but Gettis has the bigger upside.
The two combined for two interceptions last season, the total amount of
picks by all the corners. That has to change.
The season will be a
... Missouri wins the Big 12 North title. After last season, anything
less will be seen as a major disappointment. The schedule works out
well, the team is talented enough to pull it off, and the expectations
are set as a reasonably high level. The national title might be a bit
out of reach, but if the Tigers can win the Big 12 championship, there's
a chance everything else will fall into place.
Oct. 4 vs. Nebraska.
1978. That's the last time Missouri beat Nebraska in Lincoln, with some
of the losses coming by ridiculously large margins. It'll be the Big 12
opener for both teams and the conference home opener for new Husker head
coach Bo Pelini. He'll have his team fired up for the defending North
champions, but this is where the Tigers can also make a statement. With
a road game at Texas two weeks later, Mizzou has to break the streak or
risk losing any shot at the Big 12 title by mid-October.
2007 Fun Stats:
- First quarter scoring: Missouri 125 - Opponents 43
- Penalties: Opponents 103 - Missouri 76
- Third down conversions: Missouri 107 of 202 (53%) - Opponents 95 of