Guest Writer: Josh McSwain
Week 1 – vs. Southeastern Louisiana
The Lions struggled last season after not playing football in 2010, finishing just 3-8 in 2011. Opening their 2012 campaign against the Missouri Tigers on the road does not bode well for them. Assuming James Franklin’s shoulder is back and ready to go, this should be nothing more than a run through for Missouri’s SEC schedule. Missouri wins 55-14.
Week 2 – vs. Georgia
Mizzou plays their first ever SEC conference game at Faurot Field against the Dawgs. While the Dawgs won the SEC East last season with a solid 10-2 record, in six of their seven SEC wins they won by less than 10 points. And those wins weren’t even against top competition either – Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee and Mississippi State. Those teams were a combined 30-42 last season. Their lone SEC win by more than 10 was a 45-7 thrashing of 7-5 Auburn. Against teams with 10+ wins, Boise State, South Carolina, LSU and Michigan State, they were 0-4. On top of that, leading rusher Isaiah Crowell is gone. Mizzou has lost at home once over the last two seasons, which was against Oklahoma State last season. James Franklin struggled early on last season, but by the end of the year, he looked like he was on the verge of figuring things out. I expect him to have a huge year, with the help of T.J. Moe, Marcus Lucas, top recruit Dorial Green-Beckham and more at the WR position. The atmosphere for the first SEC game for the Tigers will be electric, and Missouri wins 28-24.
Week 3 – vs. Arizona State
In James Franklin’s second start last season, the Tigers went to Tempe, fell behind the Osweiler led Sun Devils, but rallied to send the game into OT before eventually falling 37-30 in OT. Osweiler is gone, defensive leader Vontaze Burfinct is gone, and the Tigers are both more experienced and at home. I don’t expect this one to be close. Missouri wins 42-17.
Week 4 – @South Carolina
Losing receiver Alshon Jeffery will hurt the Gamecock’s passing game, but the return of All-American caliber running back Marcus Lattimore gives their offense the boost it needs to compliment quarterback Connor Shaw. Defensively, Devon Taylor and Jadevon Clowney lead a terrifying pass rush for South Carolina. They will get in Franklin’s face all day long, disrupt the Tiger’s passing game, while Lattimore runs over the Mizzou defense, leading South Carolina to the first win in the battle of Columbias, 35-24.
Week 5 – @Central Florida
A lot of folks will sleep on the Golden Knights because they were 5-7 last season; however, it can’t be forgotten that they were 5-1 at home, and won 11 games in 2010. This looks like a huge trap game for Mizzou, sandwiched between South Carolina and Vanderbilt. I think UCF will lead for the majority of this game, but James Franklin will pull off a fourth quarter comeback to save face and win the game for the Tigers, 31-28.
Week 6 – vs. Vanderbilt
After two games away, Mizzou is happy to get back home again, hosting the Commodores, who are coming off a bowl last season. Vanderbilt coach James Franklin brings his improving squad to Columbia against a formidable opponent. Jordan Rodgers, brother of Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, will lead a very good passing game against a Mizzou secondary that was exposed at times last season. I expect to see a good old fashioned shootout, with E.J. Gaines, Mizzou’s potential all-SEC corner, making a big play at the end to seal a 34-27 win for Mizzou.
Week 7 – vs. Alabama
Well, this may be the most interesting game of the season for Mizzou or the least interesting. The champions of the Bull Crap System come to Columbia in a game that might present danger for the Tide. The Tigers are tough at home, and Alabama lost a lot of talent from the defensive side of the ball. Against James Franklin and Missouri’s high flying offense, Mizzou has at least a chance. But in the end, Eddie Lacy and the Tide’s running game will be too much for the Tigers and Alabama wins, 31-21, with a score late to seal it.
Week 8 – BYE
Week 9 – vs. Kentucky (Homecoming)
The 101st Homecoming in a new conference. This game may have an even more electric atmosphere than the Alabama game, or even the 100th Homecoming. While Kentucky had a decent defense last season, they struggled to put up points, ranking 114th out of 120 teams in college football. They are going to need to put up points in order to stay with Mizzou in Columbia. This one figures to be a blowout. Mizzou wins 45-16.
Week 10 – @Florida
Heading to The Swamp is no easy task. Even if Tebow isn’t at QB for the Gators. The Gators struggled to score points last season, averaging only 25.5 ppg – 71st in the country. Factor in a new QB, no Jeff Demps and no Chris Rainey. But the Gators have a very good D, which returns almost all their starters from last season. While Mizzou has had a good season up to this point, fatigue will start to settle in, and on the road, against a tough opponent, the Tigers won’t have enough. Florida wins 24-17.
Week 11 – @Tennessee
Tennessee – a once storied program that hasn’t won 10 or more games since 2007. Derek Dooley has been very mediocre since taking over for Lane Kiffin at Rocky Top in 2010, compiling an 11-14 record in two seasons. Tyler Bray is a very skilled quarterback, but has been unable to stay healthy. Like Florida, they struggled to score points last season, ranking 106th in the nation. But, a formidable defense gives them hope. They ranked 36th in the nation in points allowed. At Rocky Top, I think Tennessee pulls out a game that could go either way, 24-21.
Week 12 – vs. Syracuse
After dropping two straight road games, Mizzou comes home against the last team that they have scheduled for the season, the Orange. Ryan Nassib may be an all-Big East QB, but he will look overmatched in this one. James Franklin will have a huge day, particularly since he won’t have Chandler Jones, the former Syracuse pass rushing terror, breathing down his neck. Missouri wins 38-17.
Week 13 – @Texas A&M
Making a third straight trip to College Station is not what it used to be. Texas A&M has been up and down for the last decade. Mizzou has won both match-ups the last two years, winning convincingly in 2010 with Blaine Gabbert at the helm, and pulling out an OT nail biter last season. Now, Tannehill, Jeff Fuller and Cyrus Gray are all gone, as is coach Mike Sherman. Missouri was the better team in 2010, Texas A&M had the better team in 2011, and Missouri has the better team this season. No reason why the Tigers shouldn’t pull off the three game sweep as long as all Mizzou’s key players are healthy. Mizzou wins 38-13.
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