Alright, trivia time. Missouri has played 23 games since 2015 against ranked opponents. Take a guess how many of those games have gone in the Tigers favor.
Do you have your answer? Okay, good.
If you guessed two, you’re correct. Quick follow-up: How many of those two wins came at Faurot Field? Any guesses?
Did you guess zero? You’re correct. The last time Missouri won a game against a ranked opponent at home was November 30th, 2013. It’s been nearly a decade. The team’s lone victories of any kind in that span against ranked opponents came in 2018 (#11 Florida) and last season (#25 South Carolina).
We can continue with sad stats, if you would like.
The last time Missouri started 3-0 was in 2018. The last time the Tigers started 4-0? You guessed it, the aforementioned 2013 season.
Think about that for a moment. The last time Missouri made it one month into the season without losing a football game was a decade ago.
Saturday marks Missouri’s greatest opportunity yet to break the cycle.
Enough with the early-season failures. Enough with the inability to punch up. Enough with letting top 25 opponents come into Columbia and win like it’s their birthright.
I don’t even know if I believe any of these things, but it feels good and I don’t want to stop.
Enough letting these teams push you around, Mizzou. You’re better than that. Or, at least, you should be. But the mindset has to change, and fast. Remember that game against Georgia last season? Such a close call. The Tigers had a real chance to upset the best team in the country. Missouri finished that game 3-for-13 on third down. Not great. Do you know how many times Eli Drinkwitz went for it on fourth down? Take a guess. You’re probably right.
Zero fourth down attempts against the best team in the country.
The Tigers kicked a field goal from the four-yard line. They lost the game by four points. You can’t win that way. Not when you’re the underdog.
The truth of the matter is Kansas State is better than Missouri. The Wildcats have a clear identity. They’ve won at least eight games in each of the three full seasons with Chris Klieman as their coach. They won double-digit games last season for the first time since 2012. The program is winning the exact same way it did under Bill Snyder.
Kansas State, much like Texas, is back.
Are the Tigers?
Beating Kansas State would go a long way toward making a believer out of me. A win against Kansas State builds back some goodwill that was lost against Middle Tennessee. A win against Kansas State starts to build some momentum again for what could be a really fun season in Columbia.
I will not be picking Missouri to win this weekend. But I’m also someone the team would likely consider a critic. All the team has to do to shut me up — along with any other doubters out there — is beat Kansas State.
Can they do it?