1. Two days to South Carolina
The Tigers have logged 20 sacks over their past four games. South Carolina has given up 10 sacks over its past three.
"They’re very fast. They’re quick. Somebody said they don’t have a lot of fat guys out there playing," Spurrier said. "They are a quick defense. They play their zones extremely well. Very seldom do you ever see a guy out of position. They’re a well-coached team.
"They really react to the ball. They play a little bit of man-to-man, of course. They mix it up. It’s hard to tell exactly what coverage they’re in. They disguise well. They do what good defenses do. They can get excellent pressure without blitzing, although every now and then they blitz, too. They’re definitely a heck of a team."
2. People write really nice pieces when you're doing well
There’s a difference between wishing and winning, and Missouri has proved that it can get it done on the field this year. Coach Gary Pinkel called this year’s squad "special."
"It’s a just a sense of how driven they were," Pinkel said. "It was an attitude they carried. A no-nonsense attitude about getting better. I think they’ve had a lot of fun, too. Shoot, I’ve got guys singing songs before Wednesday practice. What’s happened to me?"
A solid foundation is in place to make a record run, but the Tigers are no longer an anonymous crew. The national spotlight is on them, and it’s Homecoming week. South Carolina is one of the best teams in the country. It’s important not to get caught up in the moment.
"You walk around campus and you hear, ‘Oh my gosh. No. 5. This is awesome. You guys played a great game,’" Boehm said. "You can’t worry about that. You say, ‘Yeah, it was a fun game, but we have to worry about South Carolina.’"
Last season’s trials inadvertently helped set the foundation for this season’s success.
"We felt like we had something to prove this year as an offensive line, no doubt, and as a team in general," said Morse, who spent time at guard, center and tackle a year ago. "We drew a line in the sand this offseason, and we really killed it in the weights. … The cohesiveness of the offensive line, with guys being able to stay in the same position with the same guys, has been fantastic."
It’s a bond that extends off the field as well.
"When we walk around the (Mizzou Athletic Training Center) and you see an offensive lineman, they’re normally with another offensive lineman," Boehm said. "That’s a special thing that we have with the offensive line."
The linemen have become the Tigers’ very own band of brothers.
The ultimate rebuttal...
SI.com (Stewart Mandel): How would playoff criteria apply to the 2013 BCS race?; Mailbag
How has Missouri gotten to be so good? Are we seeing the end of a multi-year process that would have culminated here if it was still in the Big 12? Or has the move to the SEC allowed it to recruit higher-caliber players who have moved it to the top in an otherwise down SEC year? -- Ben, Tampa
There's a little bit of revisionist history going on as pertains to Missouri. The Tigers were pretty successful during their last five seasons in the Big 12. They were ranked No. 1 in the country at one point late in the 2007 campaign. They won at least 10 games three times in four years from 2007-10 and captured two division titles. They started 7-0 as recently as 2010, beating No. 1 Oklahoma that year and rising to No. 6 in the BCS standings. (Three years later, Mizzou is 7-0 and No. 5 the same exact week.) So it's not like this has come from totally out of nowhere, though it's certainly surprising given last year's 5-7 effort.
One concern many (including me) had was whether coach Gary Pinkel's offensive system would translate to the SEC. But in doing so, we did not account for two things. One, of course, is that nearly the entire SEC has stopped playing defense in 2013. But Mizzou is also not the same team it was during the Chase Daniel era. It does not throw the ball 40 or 50 times a game. More notably, its enhanced recruiting profile following that memorable 12-win season in '07 allowed Pinkel to upgrade his talent on defense. Over the past few years the program has become an assembly line for elite defensive players. Ziggy Hood (2009), Sean Weatherspoon (2010), Aldon Smith (2011) and Sheldon Richardson (2013) were all first-round NFL draft picks. This year's team boasts midseason All-America selection Michael Sam and a couple of other impressive defensive linemen.
The one thing that was missing for Mizzou in the Big 12 was a conference title. We'll see if that changes in the SEC. It's worth noting at this point that the Tigers have played just three conference games. One thing is for certain, though: Missouri is quickly becoming the ultimate rebuttal to "If [insert non-SEC team] had to play an SEC schedule ..."
2007 vs. 2013
PowerMizzou: The Breakdown: 2007 vs. 2013
Recruits have indeed noticed
PowerMizzou: Brandon Lee to visit
3. One day to Hearnes
MUtigers.com: Mizzou Basketball Returns To Hearnes Friday
The Trib: Game will honor Big Eight champs
Post-Dispatch: Haith plans throwback game to honor Stewart
Mizzou Network: Hearnes Moment #3- Gilbert Goes Off vs ISU
4. Beat another ranked team, and Mizzou Soccer might not be out of NCAA contention...
MUtigers.com: Workout Wednesday: Week 3