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Missouri Tigers

College Football

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Missouri was one of two SEC teams that didn't reach a bowl game last season and there’s nothing wrong with that in Barry Odom’s first season in charge. Finishing with four wins, the Tigers were almost the opposite team from a year prior with an improved offense, but one of the conference’s worst defenses. If the offense can stay as good or better with improvement on the defensive side, this team could be looking at a bowl game.

The offense only loses one starter, so this group has a lot of things going for it with five returning offensive linemen that will kick things off. That’ll be a big help to every facet of the game, starting with a ground attack that produced a solid 4.9 yards per carry. Damarea Crockett (1,062 yards, 10 TDs) and Ish Witter (750 yards, 6 TDs) are both back and there’s no reason they’ll have worse numbers behind the same line. Of course, the main piece to the offense is quarterback Drew Lock, who threw for 3,399 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2016. In his third season, more is expected from Lock with so many returning guys, including top receiver J’Mon Moore (1,012 yards, 8 TDs).

But those wins won’t pile up unless the defense can figure things out. With a lot of minor injuries hampering what they could do in the spring, it’s still mostly unknown just what this group has after losing the majority of the starters. The Tigers gave up 31.5 points per game last season including 63 points to Tennessee, 40 to Florida and 51 to Middle Tennessee. Returning guys like Marcell Frazier and Terry Beckner will have to hold things down on the line with Kaleb Prewett standing out in the spring scrimmage. Odom has high hopes for this group after a successful spring, but what coach doesn’t early on?

The Tigers are still projected to finish last in the East along with Vanderbilt and have equal +16000 odds to win the conference (at 5Dimes Sportsbook). As a positive, they open things with four straight home games with the contest against South Carolina a good chance at an early SEC win. With winnable non-conference games, Missouri may only need two or three SEC wins to reach a bowl, but easier said than done. The Tigers would have an easier go of things if they could beat a team like Florida or Tennessee at home because they close with back-to-back road games and were blown out in every road contest in 2016.

The offense plans to go high-tempo and lead the team, but winning games will come down to having an improved defense. With so many new faces, that could be what holds Mizzou back from winning six or seven games.

2017 Missouri Tigers Football Schedule

Sept. 2 vs. Missouri State
Sept. 9 vs. South Carolina
Sept. 16 vs. Purdue
Sept. 23 vs. Auburn

Oct. 7 at Kentucky
Oct. 14 at Georgia
Oct. 21 vs. Idaho
Oct. 28 at Connecticut

Nov. 4 vs. Florida
Nov. 11 vs. Tennessee
Nov. 18 at Vanderbilt
Nov. 25 at Arkansas

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