Missouri's 2016 football season will be a memorable one as Barry Odom, the first new head coach in Columbia in 15 years, looks to return the Tigers to their winning ways. Having gone 17-15 in their first four years in the SEC, the Tigers bookended trips to the SEC Championship Game with disappointing 5-7 campaigns.
What does this year have in store? Toughness, adversity, promise. A stout defense and hopefully a rebuilt offense. Tough road games against LSU, Florida and Tennessee countered by a largely favorable home slate. Many people are saying the Tigers won’t make a bowl this year. Let’s go game by game and make our own predictions. Call your shots in the comments below, otherwise haters gonna say it’s fake.
Sept. 3 @ West Virginia (2015 record: 8-5, 4-5 Big 12)
West Virginia was a disappointing team last year, and that nearly got head coach and Red Bull enthusiast Dana Holgorsen fired. They finished the season with a win over Arizona State, like that’s hard to do, then E. Gordon Gee (yes, that guy) looked around and decided they didn’t like anyone better. The Mountaineers added a JUCO running back in Justin Crawford, who Missouri tried to recruit, to replace their leading rusher and return QB
Maty Mauk Skyler Howard for his senior season. Sure, they lost a bunch on defense. And offense. But a lot of folks wish the musket wielding, raccoon-hat wearing, couch-burning hill people were in the SEC instead of Missouri. It won’t be enough. Prediction: Missouri 24 (1-0), West Virginia 20
Sept. 10 vs Eastern Michigan (2015 record: 1-11, 0-8 MAC)
Eastern Michigan won one game last year, a 48-29 road win against Craig Bohl’s Wyoming Cowboys. 48 points is one fewer than the total number of points Missouri scored in its final six games (49). Fancy stats suggest the Eagles will win four (4) games this year, which is too few for a bowl game, something Missouri looks to return to in 2016. Mizzou must win its home opener. The Tigers will. Prediction: Missouri 31 (2-0), Eastern Promises 10
Sept. 17 vs Georgia (2015 record: 10-3, 5-3 (SEC)
Firing Mark Richt after a three-loss season seems like something you do if you’re trying to one-up Nebraska. Congrats Georgia, you got yourself a blue-chip Nick Saban assistant. Kirby Smart is totally not the next Will Muschamp. The Dawgs will probably start a true freshman quarterback - because that’s never gone wrong before - but also have the internet’s favorite name, Nick Chubb, at running back. He’ll probably be suspended after singing unliscenced music during his pre-game warm up, thus continuing Missouri’s annual tradition of avoiding the Dog’s best running back. Missouri should have won in Athens last year dammit. Turnabout is fair play. Prediction: Missouri 9 (3-0), Jawja 6
Sept. 24 vs Delaware State (2015 record: 1-10, 1-7 MEAC)
Yuuuuup. Prediction: Missouri 45 (4-0), Cupcake 10
Oct 1 at LSU (2015 Record: 9-3, 5-3 SEC)
In lieu of a paragraph lambasting LSU boosters for trying to fire Les Miles, please consider donating to help out our Tiger breaux dealing with floods in Baton Rouge. Here's a link to the BRAF's flood relief page and here's some background on Democracy Prep, plus the Amazon wish list established to help families in need.
Prediction: Missouri 6 (4-1), Kings of Leon(ard) Fournette 9
Oct. 15 at Florida (2015 record: redacted)
Florida’s QB last year, Will Grier, was using an illegal substance, and everyone knew it, but Jim McElwain still let him play because that’s what you do when you’re desperate to get stomped in an SEC Championship Game.
I’ll pause to let that marinate.
The QB who helmed what Spencer Hall called, "The most horrifying sequence of offensive football I have ever seen in my life", has transferred. This completes the "Muschampfecta" - every QB he recruited transferred. Now they have Luke Del Rio, son of Jack Del Rio, leading their ultra-young offense to pair with a stout defense. That story seems familiar, but this one has a twist ending. Prediction: Missouri 24 (5-1), Cheaters 17
Oct 22 vs Middle Tennessee State (2015 Record: 7-6, 6-2 C-USA)
Who didn’t fondly recall that harrowing 41-40 overtime win over Middle Tennessee State in 2003 and say "sign me up for three more games against them!"? As if last year’s wasn’t enough, this is a tough Homecoming game. Sure, Bill’s advanced metrics say the win probability is "77%", but they also only gave Missouri a 33% chance of beating West Virginia and we all know how that turned out. The Blue Raiders will be a stern test for the home crowd. This will likely be a case of strength vs weakness for both teams but it’s a MUST win for Missouri. Prediction: Missouri 27 (6-1), Blue Piratemen 14
Oct 29 vs Kentucky (2015 Record: 5-7, 2-6 SEC)
Is this the year Kentucky goes to a bowl game? Probably not. QB Patrick Towles has transferred to play for Harambe which means a certain linebacker won’t have to worry so much about getting exposed by the tight end seam route. It’ll be interesting to see what new offensive coordinator Darrin Hinshaw and sophomore QB Drew "Bob" Barker will try to do instead of giving it to running back Boom Williams. Maybe they should try a real Wildcat offense. If this were an old Kentucky home game I could see Locktober ending with a whimper. But alas. Prediction: Missouri 21 (7-1), Big Basketball Nation 10
Nov 5 at South Carolina (2015 Record: 3-9, 1-7 SEC)
Will Muschamp is back from the dead to take over for the Head Ball Coach Steve Spurrier, who mentally quit half-way through last year’s season. That’s right, folks, Drew Lock’s 24-10 debut win over was a mirage because this year’s Gamecocks features all the same guys as last year minus Skai Moore.
Has it occurred to anyone that South Carolina now has possibly two of the angriest coaches in revenue college sports?
The Columbia Cup stays shiny. Prediction: Missouri 17 (8-1), Red Faced Yellers 14
Nov 12 vs Vanderbilt (2015 Record: 4-8, 2-6 SEC)
Derek Mason has a nice running back in Ralph Webb and is going to run him into the ground as fast and as stupidly as possible. They do defense really well, but so did everyone against the Tigers last year. Missouri’s record against Vanderbilt is unacceptable. I have the Commodores going to a bowl this year, but not at the expense of the Tigers. Last year’s game was an abomination of football. Time to sink their battleship. Prediction: Missouri 14 (9-1), Anchormen 10.
Nov 19 at Tennessee (2015 Record: 9-4, 5-3 SEC)
Josh Dobbs is an cosmonaut and Jalen Hurd is big, but it has to sting that their best back is an Alabama transfer. The numbers, once mocked, now favor them. Tennessee still choked away a literally amazing number of leads last year. It took coming up against the worst Missouri offense in history for Tennessee to squeak out a win in Gary Pinkel’s last home game. Maybe Butch Jones will still be around when they even the record books. Those bricks are held together with shoddy cement. Prediction: Missouri 20 (10-1), Volunteers 17
Nove 25 vs Arkansas (2015: Record: 8-5, 5-3 SEC)
Everybody loves Bert, and understandably so. He’s a big, goofy-looking, vociferous character with a hot wife who spurned the B1G and his preferred style of football aligns with SEC purists. He lost his best quarterback in a tragic hand-stretching accident and will be forced to play that guy's younger brother. The media makes a big fuss about one of the Razorbacks being from the sticks outside of Columbia, but the best player on this team is named "Sprinkle". Tigers feast. Prediction: Missouri 35 (11-1), Pumba 3
Dec 3 in Atlanta for SEC Championship Game
Beating LSU won’t be easy but the sweet satisfaction of conference championship will come knowing Missouri did it the right way - by losing in the regular season. Eat dirt. Prediction: Missouri 9 (12-1), Les Mis 6
Dec 31 vs Michigan (2015 Record: 10-3, 6-2 Big Ten)
Jim Harbaugh’s blustery smarm takes a hit as the QB who spurned his late advances knocks him out of the College Football Playoff. He’s subtweet about having beaten the Buckeyes will be fire tho. Tigers Prediction: Missouri 31 (13-1), Stolen Logos 7
Jan 9 vs Oklahoma (2015 Record: 11-2, 8-1 Big 12)
For Barry Odom, the goal has always been to wrest control of Oklahoma away from Bob Stoops so he could sit on his throne. Having already defeated his henchmen Mark during the regular season. Odom’s band of tough Tigers, aided by spurned former Sooner coaches, come at the king and don’t miss. Because, in college football, you keep what you kill.
Prediction: Missouri’s first national championship is a 36-27 win over Oklahoma.