Saturday, August 14, 2010
Big 12 2010-Missouri Tigers
2009 record: 8-5 (4-4)
Head Coach: Gary Pinkel (67-46, 10th season)
Offensive Coordinator: David Yost (2nd season)
Defensive Coordinator: Dave Steckel (2nd season)
2009 Bowl Game: Texas Bowl, lost to Navy 35-13
Offense: One almost had to expect a dropoff in production when Dave Christensen left as OC to coach Wyoming last season. The drop was not horrific, but it was evident, espcially in the run game, which only ranked 85th nationally. Blaine Gabbert came in at QB and had huge shoes to fill, but he did an admirable job last season. He should have more success this season if Derrick Washington picks up where he left off in the spring at TB. The huge problem is the loss of WR Danario Alexander, who hauled in 113 catches for 1781 yards last season, which are impossible numbers to expect any one player to recreate. Wes Kemp is the lone returning starter from last season at the WR spot, with Jerell Jackson and Rolandis Woodland coming up from the bench. L'Damian Washington and TJ Moe (a former QB) will also work into the rotation. TE Michael Egew will replace Chase Coffman at TE this seaosn, and had a nice spring as well. Four Starters return on the line, which will benefit everyone.
Defense: The pass defense was a huge problem area, and even the run D fell apart in the bowl game. All American LB Sean Weatherspoon departed but Andrew Gachkar, Will Ebner, and Luke Lambert will combine to take up the slack with Zaviar Gooden taking up Weatherspoon's old OLB spot. Aldon SMith was a monster at DE as a freshman last season with 11.5 sacks, and he is joined by DT Dominique Hamilton and DE Jacquies Smith as fellow returning starters on what is expected to be a highly productive line. Kevin Rutland and Carl Gettis return at CB, but will have to be much more solid than they were last season, as they were shredded against the pass. Jasper Simmons will return at the SS spot, while there will be a freshma, Matt White, looking to be the new FS.
Special Teams: Grant Ressel returns after a phenominal season in 2009. Ressel hit 26 of his 27 FG attempts last year. Trey Barrow seems to have a lock on the punting job.
Wins: 9/4 Illinois (@ St. Louis), 9/11 McNeese State, 9/18 San Diego State, 9/25 Miami (Ohio), 10/9 Colorado, 11/13 Kansas State, 11/20 @ Iowa State, 11/27 Kansas (@ Kansas City)
Toss Up Games: 10/16 @ Texas A&M, 11/6 @ Texas Tech
Losses: 10/23 Oklahoma, 10/30 @ Nebraska
The non-conference slate is insanely easy to navigate. Mizzou should be bowl eligible without having to worry about the toss box, but both of those games should be winnable for the Tigers, and would be enough for a quality mid-tier bowl. The McNeese State game should not harm Mizzou in any way, as they will win wnough around it to not let it be a deterent to bowl qualification.
Outlook: Fairly good...The Tigers have plenty on hand to challenge Nebraska if the Huskers stumble. The Tigers still may only be the 4th or 5th best team in the conference, but they are solid against teams from outside the league. That Navy loss was uncharacteristic of a Gary Pinkel team. The pass D has to improve, as the Tigers only ranked 104th against the pass a season ago. If you want to beat them , then throw until they stop you.