There are many reasons to get hyped about the 2019 Missouri Football season, and the favorable schedule is just one of them, especially compared to last season. If one looks a little deeper into how it’s laid out, you can see how things could feasibly fall into place for the Tigers— especially in conference play.
Listen, we all know that every SEC game is important, but if I’m forced to decide which three games are most important, South Carolina, Kentucky, and yes— even Georgia— top the list. Luckily, the Tigers just happen to get all three at the best possible time (!).
After Missouri opens the season on the road at Wyoming on August 31st, the Tigers will have a five-game home stand which they desperately need to take advantage of. The most anticipated game in that stretch should be West Virginia on September 7th for Kelly Bryant’s home debut, and for good reason. However, if Missouri is going to have the season they want (or expect) to have, they’re going to have to first beat South Carolina in the SEC opener on September 21st, which I contend is the most important game on the schedule.
Why is this such a significant game? Well, Missouri hasn’t won an SEC opener since 2014, and they haven’t beaten South Carolina since 2015— most notably losing in a 37-35 heartbreaker last season. But... we don’t need to relive that any more than necessary. Moving on.
Barry Odom may never have a better chance to knock off South Carolina than this season, as the Cocks have to play Alabama the week before. Ouch. The Tigers absolutely have to take advantage of this scheduling, and I fully expect Odom to notch his first career win against South Carolina in this game.
After the extensive home stand, Missouri goes on a three-game road trip to Vanderbilt, Kentucky and Georgia, spanning October 12th to November 9th.
Kentucky gets my pick for the second most important game on the schedule. Why, you ask? Missouri hasn’t beaten Kentucky since 2014 (yikes), and after last year’s debacle... Again, moving on. This season, perhaps, we will have a different outcome. Not only do the Wildcats have to find a way to make up for losing both Josh Allen and Benny Snell, but they also have to play Georgia the week before Missouri. Lucky them. Now, I realize that a conference road game is still a conference road game— certainly making things more difficult— but this schedule creates an ideal situation for Barry Odom to knock off the Wildcats (also for the first time in his career).
Last on the the three-game road trip is Georgia, the biggest game on Missouri’s schedule, and also the best team they play all season— hence why they’re on my list. According to the AP Preseason Top 25, this will be Missouri’s first game against a ranked opponent, and it occurs the latest of any other SEC teams.
Depending on what Missouri’s record is on November 9th, this game may very well decide who finishes atop the SEC East. An 8-0 record going into this game isn’t out of the realm of possibility for Missouri, but they’ll have to take care of business to make that happen. It’s not that hard to envision a big-time match up with national implications, and I am here for it.
Schedule-wise, this just might be the ultimate trap game for Georgia, because Missouri is sandwiched in between two of the Bulldogs’ biggest rivals, Florida and Auburn. Even Bill Bender from the Sporting News agrees here.
It’s probably going to take a perfect game for the Tigers to win this one, but this is exactly where you want to draw Georgia for the chance to pull off the major upset, even with the game in Athens.
My picks aside, the schedule really just works out nicely for the Tigers. Even a warm weather Florida team will have to travel to a chilly Columbia in the middle of November. Maybe (hopefully?) it won’t offer the most ideal conditions for the Gators, and it could help us claim another win.
The 2019 season has the potential to be a special one for Missouri, and that’s just not just talking about their own schedule. Other teams’ schedules may play a role in the Tigers’ success too when it’s all said and done. It’s not who they play or where they play; it’s when they play them.