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These are the stats that will determine Missouri football’s 2018 season

A compendium of metrics — ranging from useful to utterly useless — to keep an eye on with the Tigers this season.

NCAA Football: Texas Bowl-Texas vs Missouri
Back-to-back 40-touchdown-pass seasons for Drew Lock? We shall see...
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

It’s game week.

Everybody is anxious for the 2018 season to get started. So I’m not going to throw any more convoluted statistical measures at you with Missouri’s first game that matters only two days away.

Instead, I’m going to throw a whole bunch of convoluted statistical measures that I already came up with at you, for you to keep in mind as 2018 gets going in earnest.

— Nobody knows how Derek Dooley will be as offensive coordinator. But, if we’re going by his head coaching tenures, hope for 2012 Tennessee. Not 2011 Tennessee.

— Drew Lock’s back. Have you heard? Might I interest you in a season in which he completes 232-of-389 passes for 3,652 yards, 41 TD and 14 interceptions?

— Missouri’s defense performed about 35 percent better on a per-play basis with Kaleb Prewett at safety last year. But, uh, he gone.

— I’m seeing a lot of talk (PETE!!!) about commonalities with the 2013 team. But might the offense end up being a little more like 2014?

— An already dated projection about which Tigers receivers will garner how many targets this season. Everyone point and laugh at my folly.

— From 2008-17, 34 Power-5 conference quarterbacks came back for a season after being a first-team all-conference selection, like Lock is doing in 2018. All but 11 of them either treaded water statistically the next year or took a step back.

— What might a successful senior season look like for Terry Beckner? How about something in the neighborhood of 58 tackles, 13 for loss, and six sacks?

— Barry Odom’s Tigers took a step up from Year 1 to Year 2 of his tenure, which fits in nicely with the most recent long-term (lasting at least three years) hires from all the SEC teams. The possibly bad news, though? Those coaches plateau in Year 3.

— In terms of returning production, Missouri’s offense is one of the leaders in the SEC. On defense...below average.

— Over the past decade, the teams that win the SEC East are almost uniformly good at certain things: not turning the ball over, converting on third downs, pass efficiency and having stingy defenses. Missouri was good at two of those four last year.

— New offensive coordinators tend to improve their teams in the SEC. Unless...er...they’re stepping into already strong situations. We don’t know anyone like that, do we?

— My 71.2-percent foolproof prediction model has Missouri going 7-5, 4-4 this year. My acid reflux riddled gut has the Tigers going 8-4, 4-4.

— This year’s offensive line looks to stack up very favorably with the profiles of some rather successful ones of recent vintage.

— While we’re on the subject, the Tigers’ experience/pedigree model seems fairly optimistic as well, given Missouri teams of the recent past.

High-turnover teams go almost 10 percent faster in plays per minute than low-turnover teams. Take a breath, Missouri offense. Take a moment to enjoy the world around you.

— Missouri’s got the horses to have one of the most fearsome versions of #TightEndPassGame in the nation this year.

— A healthy pass rush makes for a healthy defense. Who knew?