I mean, you had to see it coming, but I actually find myself a bit stunned by how quickly "Yeah, but who have they beaten? Vanderbilt will set them straight" turned into "Yeah, but who have they beaten? Vanderbilt stinks." Regardless, let's pretend for a moment that Mizzou beat an actual SEC team on the road last night and talk about it.
MUtigers.com: Missouri cruises in SEC debut at Vanderbilt, 51-28
MUtigers.com: Mizzou Football Post-Game Notes
The Missourian: Missouri football defeats Vanderbilt 51-28
The Missourian: Missouri football boasts 'high energy' in 51-28 attack on Vanderbilt
The Missourian: Missouri football stunts Vanderbilt's progress in lopsided win
The Missourian: Missouri football fans make impressive showing in Nashville
Post-Dispatch: Franklin, Tigers cruise past Commodores
KC Star: Mizzou wins SEC opener at Vanderbilt in a rout, 51-28
KC Star: Missouri 5-0 is a hit of the fall season
KC Star: Missouri-Vanderbilt game report
PowerMizzou: Game Wrap: Vanderbilt
PowerMizzou: Practice keeps Mizzou perfect
PowerMizzou: PMTV-HD: Vanderbilt Post Game
Mizzou Network: HIGHLIGHT: Brothers interception and return vs Vanderbilt
Mizzou Network: HIGHLIGHT: Josey TD vs Vandy - 27-7 Mizzou
Mizzou Network: HIGHLIGHT: Waters TD vs Vanderbilt: 17 - 0 MU
Mizzou Network: HIGHLIGHT: Washington 26 Yard TD vs. Vandy
Mizzou Network: Regions Bank Post-Game: Gary Pinkel after win over Vanderbilt
Mizzou Network: Regions Bank Post-Game: Michael Sam Vanderbilt Post-Game Interview
Mizzou Network: Regions Bank Post-Game: Justin Britt Vanderbilt Post-Game Interview
Mizzou Network: Regions Bank Post-Game: James Franklin Vanderbilt Post-Game Interview
3. Are you sure?
After its 51-28 fleecing of Vandy last night in its Southeastern Conference opener, Missouri is 5-0. You can nit-pick the schedule but not the way the Tigers have demolished it, beating everyone by at least 15 points.
These guys are good.
The credit starts in the same places where the blame was heaped last year — coach and quarterback. Gary Pinkel has Missouri playing the opportunistic brand of football that his best teams have always played, winning the turnover and penalty battles and showing poise on the road. And James Franklin has proved to be a worthy heir to Pinkel's quarterback lineage. […]
It was the most legitimizing victory of the season for the Tigers. In recent years, Vanderbilt has become the gatekeeper of the SEC. The teams that finish in the upper tier can beat the Commodores, while the others can't. If Missouri can manhandle Vandy in its own stadium, I think a lot of games that were penciled in the "L" column before the season are very much in play.
"We've been getting a lot of criticism about the SEC," Kentrell Brothers said. "How we don't belong and all that."
Missouri sure looked like it belonged on Saturday night. That's not a bad Vanderbilt team. It's not a great one. Yes, the Commodores stand 0-3 in league play now (and get Georgia, A&M and Florida in their next three), but they aren't as hapless as the Tigers made them look. Two weeks ago, we all said, "Yeah, but it's only Indiana." The Hoosiers beat Penn State by 20 on Saturday. Eventually, maybe Missouri deserves a bit of credit for making some of these teams look so awful.
"Seems like we're the underdog every week, but we embrace it. We love it. At the end of the day, predictions really mean nothing," L'Damian Washington said. "If predictions meant anything you wouldn't have to play the game on Saturday." Now that they're playing the games, it's like the Tigers want to let us find out what they seem to have believed for quite a while.
"I think I've got some special guys here," Pinkel said. "What does that mean? I don't know. We're gonna try to win every game. I like this team. I liked it before."
We like it, too, Coach.