The Missouri Tigers football team, led by head coach Gary Pinkel, kicked off the 2013 campaign in exactly the fashion many expected Mizzou too with a blowout victory over Murray State.
It is a big season for Pinkel and the Tigers as they enter their second year in the SEC conference and after posting just a 5-7 record a season ago, Pinkel is on the hot seat a bit with pressure needed to return the program at least back to another bowl game.
While becoming bowl eligible on the surface does not sound that difficult, considering it takes just a 6-6 record, Pinkel’s Tigers have a challenge on their hands just to do so again in 2013, even with the first week cupcake.
I think Mizzou will be bowl eligible in 2013 and I think the Tigers will surprise some people with how competitive they will be in 2013, as to compared to a year ago where the lasting impression the 2012 squad was a blowout loss to Johnny Manziel.
Here is a look, game-by-game, at some predictions for the Missouri Tigers, who I optimistically think will finish the season with an 8-4 record, and here is how.
Week 1 versus Murray State: This game has already been won, as it should have been. Moving on…
Week 2 versus Toledo: This is likely a sentimental game for Pinkel, who used to coach at Toledo, but that likely will not be a distraction, at least it better not. Mizzou has no business losing to Toledo. Ever. Nor will they.
Now, Toledo managed to stick with the Gators, who looked lackluster on offense, much like they did in 2012. But Mizzou should be too much for the Rockets and the Tigers should roll. Mizzou 47 Toledo 17
Week 4 at Indiana: Good for Pinkel and Mizzou for playing a BCS school on the road on the non-conference schedule. Now, Indiana is no power house, but at least it is a respectable game on the non-conference schedule that can get the Tigers ready for the difficult SEC schedule.
Indiana is not going to just roll over. The Hoosiers can score. They rolled Indiana State with 73 points in their opener and put up some points in 2012, including a 49-point outburst in a loss to Ohio State, who finished the year undefeated.
Mizzou will be asked to score and they should. Indiana does not play much defense. They let the FCS Sycamores score 35. Mizzou should roll up the yardage offensively and play just enough defense to win in a shootout. If they don’t, Pinkel’s Tigers could be in for a very, very long season, but I think Mizzou pulls through. Mizzou 54 – Indiana 38
Week 5 versus Arkansas State: This is a trap game. If there every was one, this is it. Its the final non-conference tune-up, which happens to be one week before the Tigers play Vanderbilt, a team that Pinkel’s boys have to have circled on the schedule after choking at home against Vandy in 2012.
Add the fact that Arkansas State can play, and you have a possible nightmare. Arkansas State managed to only lose to Oregon by 23 points and finished 2012 with a 10-3 record and scored over 60 points in their first game.
This is a scary game, but Mizzou will pull through in a squeaker. Mizzou 42 – Arkansas State 38
Week 6 at Vanderbilt: This is by far the most important game on the Mizzou schedule and it is not even close. The Tigers should be 4-0 coming into this game, the first of the SEC season, and getting off on the right foot in the conference schedule, against a team Mizzou is suppose to be better than, will only help matters. Plus, Mizzou must avenge last year’s loss at home to Vandy.
Now, Vanderbilt is a good team. A solid team. They played Ole Miss well during a Week 1 thriller.
But Mizzou must win this game. The program’s future depends on it and certainly Gary Pinkel’s does. I say Mizzou pulls it off and moves to 5-0. Mizzou 38 – Vandy 34
Week 7 at Georgia: The Tigers, in my scenario, will be flying high after a big road victory and should be 5-0 as they head to Georgia, where they will very likely come back down to earth in a New York-minute.
Now, Georgia got off to a rough start in Week 1 against Clemson, but the Bulldogs are clearly among the nation’s Top 10 teams and could be in the middle of a stretch where they will be looking to strengthen their case to get back into the National Championship discussion if they take business after the season-opening loss. I smell blood and a poor Mizzou effort for several reasons. Georgia 52 – Mizzou 13
Week 8 versus Florida: Mizzou played Florida very well last season and without four James Franklin interceptions, the Tigers could have stolen a game down at the Swamp.
Mizzou very well could be in position to do so again and I think they do. There are obviously problems on the offensive side of the ball in Gainesville and while the defense is stout, things are always different on the road. I think Gary Pinkel gets a signature win, at least since the team moved to the SEC, and upsets the Gators. Mizzou 27 – Florida 24
Week 9 versus South Carolina: In my scenario, Mizzou should be 6-1 and hosting South Carolina which could be billed as a marquee game. The problem is, Mizzou simply does not match-up with the athleticism of South Carolina. Its not going to happen. The Gamecocks will either be undefeated or have just one loss (at Georgia in Week 2, how difficult is Georgia’s scheduled, sheesh??) and Steve Spurrier’s team will not slip up. Not on the road. South Carolina 44 – Mizzou 17
Week 10 versus Tennessee: Last year’s game in Knoxville was a classic bout between a pair of lightweights and this year, both team’s will be looking to move up weight classes and I think Mizzou is in better position to do so, assuming the Tigers are not too bruised from the beating they will take from South Carolina the week before. I think Mizzou protects Faurot Field with another exciting, high-scoring victory. Mizzou 47 – Tennessee 38
Week 11 at Kentucky: The Wildcats lost their season opener on the road at Western Kentucky and Mizzou mauled them last season in Columbia. Expect more of the same in 2013. Mizzou 47 – Kentucky 23
Week 13 at Ole Miss: Mizzou gets a week off before traveling to Ole Miss, but I don’t think it will matter. The Rebels are an upstart in the SEC and if things go right, they could be in the mix in the SEC West. Ole Miss will not slip up against Mizzou, who is the smaller and slower team in this match-up. Ole Miss 38 – Mizzou 24
Week 14 versus Texas A&M: This is a swing game. Will Manziel play and thus, we see another track meet like last year? Or will this kid find a way to get in trouble again? Doesn’t matter. Texas A&M is more talented than the Tigers, but I guarantee Mizzou makes this one close, but falls short. Texas A&M 38 – Mizzou 34
There you have it, an optimistic, but possible way for Mizzou to get to 8-4 on the season. There are three games on this schedule that very easily could go the other way and thus, Mizzou ending up at 5-7 again. But I think the Tigers beat Indiana on the road, take care of Vandy and get some revenge, and pull off an upset of an overrated Florida Gator team.
We will see, which is why they play them on the field.
- Mizzou football: Shouldn’t the Tigers be practicing more, not less? (stlsportsminute.com)
- Missouri football: Having Arkansas on 2014 schedule is a blessing (stlsportsminute.com)
- Missouri football: How many wins for the Tigers this season? (stlsportsminute.com)