The Missouri Tigers are set for their first season in the Southeastern Conference and everyone who follows college football wants to know just how they'll do. The Tigers open fall camp on Thursday and sit exactly one month away from their season opener against Southeastern Louisiana. So what will this season bring? PowerMizzou.com breaks it down game-by-game in our way too early season prediction.
September 1st vs Southeast Louisiana
Analysis: We have 13 games to analyze and there really isn't a whole lot of reason to spend more than a sentence or two on this one. Missouri will win easily enough that Corbin Berkstresser plays at least a full quarter and Tiger fans get to meet Russell Hansbrough, who will be the first freshman to find the end zone.
Score Prediction: 45-7 Missouri
September 8th vs Georgia
Analysis: According to many people, this is the first game of the season. Because this is already the one everyone has his eye on. The Bulldogs bring a team that is predicted to win the SEC East into Faurot Field for a prime-time welcome-to-the-SEC showdown. The Tigers catch UGA at the right time. Not only could the roster be weakened by suspension, including all-SEC stud Bacarri Rambo, but the Dawgs have a history of starting a bit slow. The last time UGA started a season 2-and-0 was 2008. This one won't be easy by any means because the atmosphere at Faurot will rival any Mizzou has ever seen. James Franklin introduces himself to the SEC, Dorial Green-Beckham catches a touchdown and the Tigers make an early season statement.
Score Prediction: 27-20 Missouri
Record: 2-0 (1-0)
September 15th vs Arizona State
Analysis: The Sun Devils got the Tigers on a Friday night in a game that knocked Missouri's season for a bit of a loop last year. Nearly every significant contributor from that ASU team is gone and Missouri will have revenge on its mind. There will be no debate about whether Gary Pinkel iced his kicker because the Tigers won't need any late-game heroics. Marcus Murphy is the star with two touchdowns as the Tigers get their payback.
Score Prediction: 34-20 Missouri
September 22nd at South Carolina
Analysis: After a win over Georgia, Missouri suddenly faces an opportunity to seize control in the SEC's East Division. But the Gamecocks can do the same and have a healthy Marcus Lattimore at their disposal. Pounding away against a defensive interior that is still finding its footing, Lattimore runs for 130 and two scores as the Gamecocks get the upper hand in the division race.
Score Prediction: 23-14 South Carolina
Record: 3-1 (1-1)
September 29th at Central Florida
Analysis: This one should perhaps simply be labeled "trap game" on the Tiger schedule. Wedged between games against SEC East teams, the Tigers have a road game in a place they wouldn't have one in most years. With the conference change, Mizzou had to scramble to find an opponent and have to go to Orlando. UCF will be searching for a signature win. They won't get it. The Tigers knock starting quarterback Blake Bortles out of the game in the third quarter and former Tiger Tyler Gabbert can't bring the Knights back. Franklin and T.J. Moe hook up 12 times in the Tiger win.
Score Prediction: 30-20 Missouri
Record: 4-1 (1-1)
October 6th vs Vanderbilt
Analysis: It's the battle of the James Franklin's. The Missouri quarterback is off to a strong start while the Vandy coach is looking for his first league win. The league schedule makers didn't do the Commodores a lot of favors. After an opening-week showdown against South Carolina, Vandy has to go to Georgia in week four. The Commodores will have a bye week to stew on an 0-2 league start as they come to Columbia. Jordan Rodgers and Zac Stacey will make it far tougher on Missouri than most Tiger fans anticipate and this one turns into a rare SEC shootout. In the end, it's the Tigers' Franklin getting the last word in with a touchdown run to win it in the final four minutes.
Score Prediction: 34-31 Mizzou
Record: 5-1 (2-1)
October 13th vs Alabama
Analysis: We have the Tigers scoring 27 points or more in five of their first six games. Nobody scores 27 on Alabama. Make no mistake, if Missouri is to make this one tough on the tide, the defense will have to do it. Riding a wave of emotion, the Tiger D does it for a half, heading to the locker room with two takeaways and a 10-7 lead. But the Tide defense rises to the occasion in the second half and shuts down Mizzou's high-flying attack. Pundits across the country use this game as proof the spread won't work in the SEC, ignoring the fact the Tigers have just faced one of college football's best defenses.
Score Prediction: 27-10 Alabama
Record: 5-2 (2-2)
October 27th vs Kentucky
Analysis: With a week off to heal after the loss to Alabama, Missouri comes out on Homecoming as a rude host to the Wildcats. The Tigers get three first half touchdown passes from Franklin and jump to a big lead. Kentucky never makes a serious push as Zaviar Gooden ends it early in the fourth with a pick six as Mizzou bounces back.
Score Prediction: 35-17 Missouri
Record: 6-2 (3-2)
November 3rd at Florida
Analysis: Missouri starts a brutal three-game conference finishing stretch as they play every SEC game on the road in year one. The Gators are reeling, having lost four straight after a 4-and-0 start (LSU, at Vandy, South Carolina, at Georgia). But Jon Bostic and Ronald Powell continue all-SEC seasons on the defensive side of the ball as the Tigers turn it over three times. Missouri sinks in its first visit to the Swamp.
Score Prediction: 26-17 Florida
Record: 6-3 (3-3)
November 10th at Tennessee
Analysis: For the second straight week, the Tigers get a struggling SEC East team on the road. The Vols come in just 1-and-4 in league play, with the lone win at Mississippi State. Missouri pounds the nail a little further into the coffin of Derek Dooley's job with a workmanlike win highlighted by two touchdown catches from Marcus Lucas and three sacks by Brad Madison.
Score Prediction: 21-13 Missouri
Record: 7-3 (4-3)
November 17th vs Syracuse
Analysis: The Orange were picked seventh in the Big East in the preseason. They will outperform that, but the Tigers prove that finishing in the middle of the pack in the Big East doesn't mean you would fare well in the SEC.
Score Prediction: 33-17 Missouri
Record: 8-3 (4-3)
November 24th at Texas A&M
Analysis: Missouri is looking to be the first team ever to win three seasons in a row in College Station. The first game was a blowout, the second went down to the wire. This one will be somewhere in between, but eventually the law of averages has to catch up. The Aggies are looking to win just their third league game while the Tigers could lock up a winning record in the league. Honestly, I believe Missouri is the better team. But I also believe they'll stumble somewhere along the way. The Aggies want payback. So, with some skepticism, we'll pick the Tigers to finally drop one at Kyle Field.
Score Prediction: 24-20 Texas A&M
Record: 8-4 (4-4)
Music City Bowl vs Virginia
Analysis: For the second straight season, the Tigers draw an ACC team in a bowl game. The Music City features the SEC's number seven selection and the Tigers head to Nashville. Determined to finish off the season the right way, Franklin accounts for 240 yards and four total touchdowns as Missouri hangs on at the end.
Score Prediction: Missouri 28-24
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