2011 Record: (8-5, 5-4 in Big 12)
Head Coach: Gary Pinkel (157-91-3 Overall, 84-54 at Missouri)
Last Bowl Game: 2011 Independence Bowl: beat UNC 41-24
2011 Exit Survey
2012 Schedule Link
Must Win: 9/1 vs Southeastern Louisiana, 9/29 at UCF, 10/27 vs Kentucky
Big Games: 9/8 vs Georgia, 9/22 at South Carolina, 10/13 vs Alabama, 11/3 vs Florida
Swing Games: 9/15 vs Arizona State, 10/6 vs Vandy, 11/10 at Tennessee, 11/17 vs Syracuse, 11/24 at Texas A&M
2011 Statistics Link
Stat to Cheer: scored on 89.47% of red zone trips (2nd in Big 12)
Stat to Fear: converted just 39.89% of 3rd Downs (9th in Big 12)
Phil Steele's Returning Starters: (Offense: 6; Defense: 6; Specialists: 2)
Key Defensive Returnees: LB Andrew Wilson (98 tackles), LB Zavier Gooden (80 tackles, 2 INT), CB E.J. Gaines (69 tackles, 3 INT), DE Brad Madison (4.5 sacks)
Key Offensive Returnees: QB James Franklin (21 TD, 11 INT, 981 yds rush, 15 rush TD), WR T.J. Moe (54 rec, 4 TD), RB Kendial Lawrence (566 yds rush, 5 TD)
Top Recruits: WR Dorial Green-Beckham (Scout.com's #1 WR), C Evan Boehm (#1 C), MLB Donavin Newsom (#9 MLB), QB Maty Mauk (#14 QB)
I thought Missouri was going to be a darkhorse contender for the Big 12 Championship last year. That didn't happen as Mizzou limped out of the starters gate starting just 4-5. Missouri did win their four last games including a 17-5 going away present for Mack Brown. This year the Tigers enter the SEC. Can they do better than the 8-5 they left the Big 12 with last season?
On offense, Missouri will step into the SEC with one of the better offenses in the conference. QB James Franklin was just a sophmore last year but finished fourth in the conference in QB rating. One weird stat for Franklin is that he threw 10 INTs at home and just one on the road. In addition to Franklin's passing, he also ran for 981 yards so he keeps the defense honest with his legs. The question for Franklin is how well he will rebound from his shoulder injury, especially once he starts getting hit. At RB, the Tigers will miss Henry Josey but they do have a good back in Kendial Lawrence (566 yds). The Tigers have the potential to have one of the best receiver corps in the conference with T.J. Moe and true freshman Dorial Green-Beckham. Missouri has an experienced offensive line but the position to watch will be center as the Tigers project a sophomore starter. Can he stand up to the hogmollies of the SEC? Missouri should be able to score enough points to stay competitive in the SEC East.
The amount of yardage Missouri gave up last year would put them eleventh in the SEC in total defense. It's hard to compare between conferences because there is a different style of football played but it will be interesting to see how the Missouri defense adapts to the SEC. The defensive line has talent. The line features Brad Madison, Sheldon Richardson and Kony Ealy. Richardson is a second-year JUCO player, Ealy is a sophomore and Madison is a senior that took a bit of a step back last year. Those guys might decide whether or not Missouri can be a contender in the SEC East. A lot is riding on their shoulders. At LB, the Tigers return two of their three leading tacklers. Andrew Wilson and Zaviar Gooden are good players, can they take the step this year to the next level and become play-makers? The defensive backfield is led by EJ Gaines but the key could be sophomore FS Braylon Webb. Missouri has some good players on defense but they will be playing against completely new offenses this year. The same can be said about the offenses playing a Missouri defense that they don't know much about. The success or failure of Missouri this year will fall on their defense and how they respond to their new conference.
There is no doubt that Missouri is a good team that can step up and be a great team on any given weekend. I question whether they can do it on a week to week basis. Missouri won double-digit games in three out of four seasons from 2007 to 2010 but they haven't been consistent double-digit game winners. Can they build off of an 8-5 season last year? They have been 8-5 in two of the last three years. It's difficult to think they can come into the SEC and be much better than that. Three of their first four SEC games are against Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. Welcome to the conference.
2012 Prediction: 8-4
Previous 2012 Previews:
ACC: Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Miami (FL), NC State, UNC, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest
Big 12: Baylor, Iowa St, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma St, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech
Big East: Cincinnati, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse, Temple, UConn, USF
Big Ten: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan St, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin
C-USA: East Carolina, Houston, Marshall, Memphis, Rice, SMU, Southern Miss, Tulane, Tulsa, UAB, UCF, UTEP
Independent: Army, BYU, Navy, Notre Dame
MAC: Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green, Buffalo, CMU, EMU, Kent St, Miami (OH), NIU, Ohio, Toledo, UMass, WMU
MWC: Air Force, Boise St, Colorado St, Fresno St, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, San Diego St, UNLV, Wyoming
Pac-12: Arizona, Arizona State, California, Oregon St, Stanford, UCLA, Utah, Washington, Washington St
SEC: Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Kentucky, Miss State, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt
Sun Belt: Arkansas St, FAU, FIU, Louisiana, MTSU, North Texas, South Alabama, Troy, ULM, WKU