We're going to set up projections the same way we did for Illinois (I will not give SEMO the short shrift!), only to get enough of a sample size, I'm not going with SEMO, but with "FCS Tier 6", the estimated amalgamation of the worst FCS teams to play D1 opponents in 2007. (I've explained this before, but basically I combined the 1-AA/FCS teams into six tiers and grouped their stats together thusly.)
So without further adieu...
- 2007 Mizzou Rushing Offense EqPts+: 178.77
- FCS Tier 6 Rushing Defense EqPts/Gm: 19.77
- Projection #1: 35.34
- FCS Tier 6 Rushing Defense EqPts+: 50.18
- 2007 Mizzou Rushing Offense EqPts/Gm: 16.21
- Projection #2: 32.30
Avg Projected Mizzou Rushing Output: 33.82
Adjusted for 2008: 28.00 (Pinkel doesn't run up the score)
- 2007 Mizzou Passing Offense EqPts+: 149.55
- FCS Tier 6 Passing Defense EqPts/Gm: 17.32
- Projection #1: 25.90
- FCS Tier 6 Passing Defense EqPts+: 45.11
- 2007 Mizzou Passing Offense EqPts/Gm: 18.40
- Projection #2: 40.79
Avg Projected Mizzou Passing Output: 33.35
Adjusted for 2008: 28.00 (Pinkel doesn't run up the score)
- FCS Tier 6 Rushing Offense EqPts+: 47.00
- 2007 Mizzou Rushing Defense EqPts/Gm: 8.29
- Projection #1: 3.90
- 2007 Mizzou Rushing Defense EqPts+: 151.97
- FCS Tier 6 Rushing Offense EqPts/Gm: 7.57
- Projection #2: 4.98
Projected SEMO Rushing Output: 4.44
Adjusted for 2008: 2.50 (I liked what I saw against Illinois)
- FCS Tier 6 Passing Offense EqPts+: 38.82
- 2007 Mizzou Passing Defense EqPts/Gm: 12.14
- Projection #1: 4.71
- 2007 Mizzou Passing Defense EqPts+: 141.07
- FCS Tier 6 Passing Offense EqPts/Gm: 4.44
- Projection #2: 3.15
Projected SEMO Passing Output: 3.93
Adjusted for 2008: 4.50 (are the troubles with Mizzou's Passing D enough to accidentally give up a long pass to SEMO at some point?)
Projected EqPts Score: Missouri 56.0, SEMO 7.0
SEMO's special teams unit actually isn't that bad. Doug Spada is a stud punter--he averaged 42.6 yards per punt last year and uncorked a 47.6 yard average over 5 punts last weekend against SW Baptist (including two inside the 20). He's an average kicker--he went 2-for-4 on FGs last weekend, including misses from 34 and 35, but made a 47-yarder--and only averages about 59 yards on kickoffs, but let's be honest: he's going to be punting a lot more than he's kicking off or booting FGs, so this plays to his strengths. Their return game is nothing amazing, but it's also nothing terrible.
Unfortunately for SEMO, a) Mizzou just shut down a much better return game than SEMO has to offer, b) SEMO's never tried to tackle Jeremy Maclin before, and c) we've got Jeff Wolfert, and they don't. Special teams should be worth at least another 3-7 points on the scoreboard.
FCS Tier 6 Teams: Top '+' Rankings
Before I get to the "key players" for each team (I will not give SEMO the short shrift!), I wanted to look at something. It doesn't take a genius to realize that "FCS Tier 6" probably averaged at or very near the bottom in most categories, '+' rankings and otherwise. However, my '+' rankings tend to show that, well, everybody's decent at something. So let's look at where "FCS Tier 6" ranked the highest.
#31: Defensive 3rd Down Line Yards+
#53: Defensive Q2 Rushing S&P+
#58: Defensive 2nd Down Line Yards+
#62: Offensive Q2 Rushing S&P+
#67: Offensive Q4 Passing S&P+
#72: Defensive Q2 Line Yards+
#77: Defensive Q4 Line Yards+
#80: Defensive Q4 Rushing S&P+
#81: Defensive 3rd Down Rushing S&P+
#85: Defensive Redzone Rushing S&P+
Now, the Q4 numbers are easy enough to understand--chances are, the other team's scrubs are in by that point. That might even explain the three Q2 categories. But the Defensive Line Yards phenomenon is rather interesting. Eight of the 10 categories have to do with rush defense in some way, and I don't completely have an explanation for that. In fact, let's just move on...
Key Players for SEMO
QB Houston Lillard
If SEMO's going to exploit Mizzou's current weaknesses in the secondary, the ball's going to come from Lillard. He was a very impressive 27-39 for 387 yards and 3 TDs against SW Baptist last week and won the Ohio Valley's Offensive Player of the Week award, and even though that was against NAIA competition, that at least shows that he can throw, right? Of course, it would help if he had preseason All-OVC RB Timmy Holloman in the backfield with him, but Holloman was ruled ineligible for the first five games of '08. And backups Mike Jones and Jacob McKinley didn't exactly light SW Baptist ablaze.
WR Miles Edwards
If SEMO's going to exploit Mizzou's current weaknesses in the secondary, the ball's probably going to be caught by Edwards, who had 204 yards and 2 TDs (including an 80-yarder) against SW Baptist. He was SEMO's leading WR last year too, with 480 yards and 7 TDs.
LB Jared Goodson
He's SEMO's most highly-touted defensive player, a preseason All-OVC selection, though he only had 3 assisted tackles against SW Baptist. So maybe I'll go with senior LB Nick Stauffer instead--he had 10 solo and 6 assisted tackles, plus a fumble recovery. Either way, I'll be honest--I expect nothing from him this week.
CB Eddie Calvin
The junior Rockwood Summit alum had a career day last week, registering 3 first-half INTs. Lord knows he'll get to find out just how good he really is this week. If he comes up with 3 more against Chase Daniel, he probably has a future in the NFL awaiting him.
Key Players for Mizzou
WR Jeremy Maclin
He needs to have a big play in the first quarter so they have no qualms about taking him out as soon as possible. I want to see lots of Jerrell Jackson, Michael Egnew and Wes Kemp.
QB Chase Patton
He needs to be 100% healthy so that we don't even think about tearing off Blaine Gabbert's redshirt.
CBs Castine Bridges, Kevin Rutland, Tremane Vaughns, Trey Hobson, and whoever else plays opposite Carl Gettis
This one should go without saying. Does Mizzou really have a weakness at #2 CB, or was the Illinois game a giant outlier? Somebody here needs to step up, and I guess it'll probably be Bridges.
Ss Justin Garrett and Del Howard (the return of Deltin Garward!)
I put Garrett on the spot last week, and his performance wasn't overly encouraging. If Garrett and/or Howard are the cause of another deep-ball breakdown this week, I'll officially become the fan of the Hardy Ricks Fan Club...and maybe the Zaviar Gooden Fan Club too.
Nobody get hurt. Nobody get hurt. Nobody get hurt. Nobody get hurt. Nobody get hurt. Nobody get hurt. Nobody get hurt. Nobody get hurt. Nobody get hurt. Nobody get hurt.
Missouri 59, SEMO 7*
(In these types of games, there's absolutely no idea to predict the score. Who knows when Pinkel will call off the dogs, and how many points the backups for both teams may score? Mizzou should end up with between 49-63 and SEMO 0-14. But all I know is...SEMO's really, really not good, and we may accidentally score 60.)