The Missouri Tigers are coming off of back-to-back SEC Championship game appearances with two SEC East champion seasons.
Maty Mauk will be returning at the quarterback position, and he will once again be effective as he usually is.
Marcus Murphy is now in the NFL, but they still have Russell Hansbrough who should be a threat in the East. I think that the struggles will come on the defensive side of the game, with Markus Golden and Shane Ray both in the NFL. No matter where the Tigers are projected to finish, I think Coach Pinkel will get his team to perform well. Overall I think that Pinkel and company will struggle a little bit but will have a good season. Here’s my prediction:
September 5 vs. Southeast Missouri State, W 55-13: Missouri was one of very few teams in the SEC to not go through a quarterback battle this offseason with Maty Mauk under center. This one should not be a problem to open up the season as they will get the easy win.
September 12 @ Arkansas State, W 37-10: After an easy win, Missouri hits the road to face the Arkansas State Red Wolves. Maty Mauk doesn’t have a lot of weapons to use at the receiver position, but I think the Tigers will find a way to utilize his ability, and that may be using running back Russell Hansbrough in the passing game.
September 19 vs. Connecticut, W 31-13: Last season Missouri was upset by a notable non-conference opponent early in the season against Indiana. This year they have Connecticut, who is a notable team in a good division one conference, but I do not think they will have any problems here.
September 26 @ Kentucky, W 21-16: Missouri’s defense will get a boost of confidence in this one as I believe that their defense can stop the Kentucky offense. Missouri will slow things down on their offense and get it done in Lexington.
October 3 vs. South Carolina, W 31-24: Missouri will have to keep up with the Gamecocks offense as we all know that Spurrier will want to go fast. Missouri defensively will prevail in this one; I think they’ll have a pick six or some sort of defensive touchdown.
October 10 vs. Florida, L 27-34: Missouri starts off the season 5-0 as they face the Gators. I think Missouri gets a little caught up with the idea of starting 6-0 and they let this one slip away as Florida grabs the upset.
October 17 @ Georgia, L 17-41: This one will not be pretty because of Nick Chubb getting carries on almost every play for the Bulldogs. I think Georgia will quickly wear down the Missouri defense by running the football.
October 24 @ Vanderbilt, W 21-17: Vanderbilt will threaten an upset here as I think it will be a defensive battle from start to finish. Russell Hansbrough will have a good game despite an overall poor offensive performance from the team as a whole.
November 5 vs. Mississippi State, L 25-28: This will be an ESPN Thursday night game at Faurot Field. I think that Missouri will get worn out by Prescott’s athletic ability and he will steal the show and top the Tigers.
November 14 vs. BYU, 27-13: This is actually a tough scheduled opponent for a non-conference game this late in the season. Gary Pinkel will have his team ready and make sure that Missouri will not be upset. Expect a good performance from Maty Mauk and company.
November 21 vs. Tennessee, 33-23: Missouri needs wins this game and the next one in order to get to Atlanta, and I think they complete the first part of the task. Gary Pinkel is one of the best coaches in the game, and I think he gets his team motivated for this game and they grab a quality win, which some would consider an upset.
November 28 @ Arkansas, L 17-24: This newl- formed rivalry was an exciting one last season with Missouri coming out on top by a touchdown. This season I think the tables turn and Arkansas will prevail by a touchdown. I think Missouri will struggle down the stretch again against a run heavy offense.
2015 Projection: Missouri: 8-4, 4-4 SEC; 3rd SEC East
Grant Daniels, a student at Oxford High School, is sports correspondent for HottyToddy.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org