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New Era of Mizzou Football Set to Begin in 2011, Predictions on the First 6 Games

August 22, 2011

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Faurot Field in Columbia will once again be packed on Saturdays with all eyes
on the Missouri Tigers football team. But under center won’t be #11, the now NFL quarterback Blaine Gabbert. This year the quarterback of the Mizzou Tigers will wear #1, and his name is James Franklin. Even with all the change this year will bring, anticipation is high among the players, coaches, and fans. Some feel like this is the strongest team Mizzou has had in a while, and there is plenty of reason to feel good about them following a 10-3 season last year in what was supposed to be somewhat of a down year. Mizzou football is rising up into a perennial powerhouse under the leadership of Gary Pinkel, and the program has amassed 40 wins in the past four season along with six straight bowl game appearances. Here’s my prediction on the first half of the Tigers regular season games:

September 3 vs. Miami (OH): The Redhawks finsihed 10-4 last season, good for first in the MAC East division. Miami Ohio is finally starting to get the attention of other NCAA teams, with Minnesota, Army, and Cincinati all having games against the Redhawks. But given Mizzou’s elite offense and stingy defense, Miami (OH) simply has no chance in this game. My money is on: Mizzou winning by at least 20 points.

September 9 at Arizona State: All college road games are tough, especiallywhen they occur early in the season. Which is why this game will be a gauge of what to expect from Mizzou this season. ASU is a team Mizzou should definitely beat. The Sun Devils finished with a 6-6 record last season, and finished in the bottom half of the PAC 12 standings. They were 0-3 vs. ranked opponets, and Mizzou enters the year at #21 nationally. One thing to watch out for when playing ASU is the passing game; they finished 15th in FBS last season in passing yards per game. My money is on: Mizzou pulling away in the second half to win by at least a touchdown.

September 17 vs. Western Illinois: The WIU Leathernecks finished with an 8-5 record last season and scored over 430 points. But to be quite frank, no team playing in the MVC and not dominating is going to come close to competing against a team like Mizzou. My money is on: Mizzou winning big and taking out their starter midway through the second half.

Septemver 24 at Oklahoma: Yikes. Oklahoma enters the season ranked #1 overall, following a 12-2 campaign in which they scored 521 points. And most of their team is back from last year. I understand we beat pretty much this same team at home before, but on the road is an entirely different story (ie: @ Nebraska last year). As much as I would like to see the Tigers prevail in this one, I can’t realistically say I believe it will happen. My money is on: Oklahoma pulling away after Mizzou’s offense suffers through some ineffective drives and winning by 7-14 points. But wouldn’t it be great to pull another upset?

October 8 at Kansas State: The Wildcats are coming off a relatively disappointing year that ended with a 7-6 record and 1-3 record vs. AP top 25 teams. Add to the the loss of RB Daniel Thomas to the NFL and you get another disappointing year for KSU fans. Even though this is a road game, Mizzou should be in complete control. My money is on: Mizzou winning by at least 10 points, never in doubt.

October 15 vs. Iowa State: The Cyclones finished the 2011 season with a record of 5-7, failing to make a bowl game appearance. ISU only won 3 out of their eight conference games last season, and this year will be without leading rusher Alexander Robinson who graduated. I expect ISU to be better this season. And last season, if you reflect, they only let the powerful Mizzou offense score 14 points total. The problem? They scored 0. So however much improved they will be, they will still have trouble hangin with Mizzou, who themselves are improved from last year. My money is on a close game, which most people probably don’t expect, but in the end Mizzou will prevail and win by at least 7 points.

My prediction for first six games total: 5 wins, 1 loss

Second half games: Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Baylor, Texas, Texas Tech, Kansas

-KG

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