Head Coach: Gary Pinkel
2013-14 Record: 12-2, 7-1 Southeastern Conference
2013-14 Bowl Result: 41-31 win over Oklahoma State in Cotton Bowl
Odds to Win National Championship: +6412
Offense: 4, Defense: 4
The Tigers will replace James Franklin with Maty Mauk under center, as Pinkel prepares for this 14th year in Columbia, which is important to consider when making your college football predictions in 2014.
Mauk completed just 51.1 percent of his passes, but did manage to throw for 1,071 yards and 11 touchdowns with two interceptions last year, as he gets ready to be protected by an offensive line that has 72 career starts.
Missouri has a pair of electric running backs in Russell Hansbrough and Marcus Murphy, who each managed to rush for more than 6.0 yards per carry in 2013.
A big weapon won’t be on campus this year, with one-time No. 1 recruit Dorial Green-Beckham being dismissed from the program, and is set to start at wide receiver at Oklahoma.
There’s no question that this unit received a lot of notoriety during the offseason with defensive end Michael Sam being drafted in the seventh round by the St. Louis Rams, as he became the first openly gay athlete in the NFL.
Missouri welcomes back its top two defensive tackles and No. 3 defensive end, but there’s plenty of holes to fill on a unit that racked up 41 sacks last season.
Senior defensive end Markus Golden is one of the key players to watch, as he earned All-SEC honorable mention honors despite playing about 40 percent of the team’s snaps.
College football handicappers are expecting the Tigers to have a perfect 4-0 record heading into their SEC opener on the road against South Carolina, but they do face some quality competition in the early going.
Missouri’s season will likely be determined by playing two home games against Georgia and Florida, while going on the road against Florida in October.
The final three weeks could be a make or breaker in terms of landing a bowl appearance, especially since they hit the road against Texas A&M and Tennessee—before closing its schedule at Memorial Stadium by taking on Arkansas.
The Tigers certainly benefit in not having to face Alabama, Auburn and LSU, which translates into their SEC opponents having just a 24-40 record in conference play a season ago.
Missouri is still a contender in the East, but it won’t be playing in a major bowl this year.
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