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How many games will Missouri win this year?

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Can the Tigers top last year? Is it simply “make a bowl or bust” again this fall?

NCAA Football: South Carolina at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

With spring football wrapping up, it’s evidently time for another round of over/under win totals.

According to BetDSI, here are the O/Us for the SEC:

  • Alabama 10.5
  • Georgia 10.5
  • Auburn 9
  • Mississippi State 8
  • LSU 7.5
  • Texas A&M 7
  • South Carolina 7
  • Florida 7
  • Missouri 6.5
  • Ole Miss 6
  • Kentucky 6
  • Tennessee 5.5
  • Arkansas 5.5
  • Vanderbilt 5

One thing you notice right off the bat: the East/West balance isn’t expected to swing back toward the East anytime soon. Only one SEC East team has an over/under of more than seven wins, and Georgia is projected to run away with the division title again.

There’s obvious reason to expect things to play out that way. Tennessee and Florida are starting over, Vanderbilt lost its trajectory last year, Kentucky always seems to hover around six wins (last four years: 5, 5, 7, and 7), and while South Carolina did break through with a 9-4 record last year, that stemmed in part from a 6-1 record in one-possession games. That’s hard to replicate from one year to another; the Gamecocks — 4-9 in such games in 2014-15, then 10-3 since — know that as well as anyone.

But what about Missouri? Where do the Tigers stand heading into 2018? ESPN’s FPI projections are semi-optimistic, projecting the Tigers 29th overall with an average of 7.3 projected wins. I decided to check on what my S&P+ projections have to say, and it’s a very similar outlook. Mizzou is projected 30th, with the following win probabilities:

  • UT Martin: 97% (projected margin: +33.0)
  • Wyoming: 76% (+12.1)
  • at Purdue: 57% (+3.2)
  • Georgia: 27% (-10.7)
  • at South Carolina: 48% (-0.8)
  • at Alabama: 12% (-20.5)
  • Memphis: 64% (+6.3)
  • Kentucky: 71% (+9.6)
  • at Florida: 46% (-1.8)
  • Vanderbilt: 76% (+12.4)
  • at Tennessee: 68% (+8.0)
  • Arkansas: 67% (+7.7)

Average projected wins: 7.1, right around what FPI had.

  • Likely wins (win probability > 70%): UT Martin 97%, Wyoming 76%, Vanderbilt 76%, Kentucky 71%
  • Relative tossups (between 30%-70%): Tennessee 68%, Arkansas 67%, Memphis 64%, Purdue 57%, South Carolina 48%, Florida 46%
  • Likely losses (<30%): Georgia 27%, Alabama 12%

The Tigers are favored at Purdue and Tennessee and are given tossup odds at South Carolina and Florida. That seems a little on the aggressive side, but with four games over 70% win probability and two under 30%, Mizzou will need to at least split the other six games to reach 7-5 as projected. That requires at least one win among those four road games.

Out of curiosity, I also used these projections to do the “simulate the season 10,000 times” thing and look at the likelihood of a given record.

  • 2-10: 0.1% (13 times out of 10,000)
  • 3-9: 0.9%
  • 4-8: 3.4%
  • 5-7: 10.2%
  • 6-6: 19.7%
  • 7-5: 25.6%
  • 8-4: 22.4%
  • 9-3: 12.6%
  • 10-2: 4.3%
  • 11-1: 0.9%
  • 12-0: 0.03% (3 times out of 10,000)

That’s an 85.5 percent chance of bowl eligibility and a 40.2 percent chance of exceeding last year’s 7-5 regular-season record.

Honestly? That feels a little optimistic to me, but I at least understand why these numbers come about. Mizzou returns almost everyone on offense, and since S&P+ isn’t programmed to take a coaching change into account, the switch from Josh Heupel to Derek Dooley isn’t a thing here. (I’m assuming FPI isn’t programmed to do that, either.) That change could result in a pretty significant shift one way or the other.

Regardless, where do you fall? I’m placing about equal odds on 6-6 and 7-5, but what say you?

Poll

How many games does Mizzou win this year?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    3 or fewer
    (6 votes)
  • 0%
    4
    (5 votes)
  • 2%
    5
    (22 votes)
  • 6%
    6
    (66 votes)
  • 24%
    7
    (236 votes)
  • 40%
    8
    (383 votes)
  • 14%
    9
    (142 votes)
  • 6%
    10
    (60 votes)
  • 0%
    11
    (9 votes)
  • 2%
    12
    (23 votes)
952 votes total Vote Now