Missouri went 8-5 last year under Barry Odom, but obviously playing in the SEC, they were a lot better than that record indicated, finishing 12th in the CSD Prime model, and that wasn’t an outlier result, the Tigers finish 12th in then-SB Nation’s S&P+ and 14th in ESPN’s FPI. The Tigers were unfortunately saddled with a postseason ban for a scandal that had little to do with anyone still involved in the current version of the program, but this team is really talented, so as long as they can keep their motivation, they should be great.
One of the most prolific quarterbacks in program history, Drew Lock, is gone, but Missouri brings in quite the replacement in former Clemson starting quarterback Kelly Bryant, who was excellent with the Tigers for about a year and a half before being beaten out for the job by Trevor Lawrence last year.
The receiving corps loses Emanuel Hall but returns the rest of the top five including deep threat Kam Scott and young stud Jalen Knox, who showed incredible potential as a freshman last year. TE Albert Okwuegbunam (466 yards) was one of the best in the SEC at his position last year and Arkansas grad transfer Jonathan Nance, the Razorbacks’ leading receiver in 2017, joins the team.
Third team All-SEC running back Larry Rountree (5.4 yards per carry) returns behind an offensive line with three starters back and a few highly touted new faces to plug some holes. This offense loses Lock but still should be awesome.
On defense, the Tigers lose ace pass rushers Terry Beckner and Terez Hall, but there are still interesting pieces returning in the front six, from Texas transfer Jordan Elliott, who had three sacks and five TFL here as a backup last year, to LB Cale Garrett (112 tackles, 5.5 TFL), to LSU transfer Sci Martin at end.
I like the front six, but where this team shines is the secondary, where they bring back one of the best corner duos in the country in DeMarkus Acy and Christian Holmes (combined 22 PBUs, five interceptions). I feel really solid about this defense, which has five of the top seven tacklers back, and I expect another good year from them.
Assuming this team still plays up to their potential despite the unfortunate bowl ban, this is a sneaky great team that could pull some upsets, November 16th hosting Florida feels like a prime opportunity.
Barry Odom has built a great culture at Missouri, which can be spoken to him landing a former Clemson starting QB despite a bowl ban, so while there may be no postseason this year, I’d be excited about the future was I a Missouri fan.
|Date||Opponent||OPp. rank||Proj. Margin|
|14-Sep||SE Missouri state||nr||n/a|
Average Projected Record: 8.0 wins, 4.0 losses (4.6 wins, 3.4 losses)