The University of Missouri Tigers are joining the South Eastern Conference next fall, winners of the last SIX BCS Championships. As far as football is concerned, the Tigers have some growing up to do if they want to be successful in the SEC.
Since Gary Pinkel came to Columbia in 2001 the Tigers have gone 85-54 while appearing in eight bowl games and winning half of them. Pinkel has brought consistency and respect to the football program at Missouri but has failed to win a conference championship, which won’t come easy in the SEC.
In 2007 the Tigers climbed to #1 in the AP ranking at the end of the regular season only to lose to Oklahoma and Sam Bradford, for the second time that season, in the Big 12 championship game. The Tigers finished that year with a victory in the Cotton Bowl Classic with a thrashing of Arkansas and finished 12-2 and #4 in the nation. Pinkel and the Tigers made their way back to the Big 12 Championship game the following year only to lose to Bradford and Co. once again. At the completion of the 2008 season the Tigers had their first back-to-back 10 win seasons.
Since that run, the Tigers have only averaged 8 wins a season. However, that has not stopped them from producing high caliber NFL talent. Only the Alabama Crimson Tide have produced more first round draft picks than the Missouri Tigers since 2009.
Players like Blaine Gabbert, William Moore, Jeremy Maclin, Sean Weatherspoon, Aldon Smith, and Ziggy Hood are making headlines all over the NFL. A lack of talent has not been the Tigers issue the last few years. The Tigers need to step up in big games. That chance comes next fall when the Tigers begin their conference games. Here is Mizzou’s 2012 conference schedule as of now:
- Sept. 8 GEORGIA Columbia, Mo.
- Sept. 22 at South Carolina Columbia, S.C.
- Oct. 6 VANDERBILT Columbia, Mo.
- Oct. 13 ALABAMA Columbia, Mo.
- Oct. 27 KENTUCKY Columbia, Mo.
- Nov. 3 at Florida Gainesville, Fla.
- Nov. 10 at Tennessee Knoxville, Tenn.
Missouri’s switch to the SEC is already paying off in the recruiting process. The switch attracts athletes they otherwise would have no shot with. Local WR Dorial Green-Beckham (6’6 220), arguably the top recruit in the nation, is considering Mizzou. He would be a big target for QB James Franklin and a key weapon against those strong SEC defenses. It will be important for Missouri to successfully recruit within its own state.
In addition, RB Russell Hansbrough will give relief to Kendial Lawrence next year as Henry Josey will miss the 2012 season due to a knee injury. Josey’s absence will create quite a vacancy as he averaged 8 yards per carry while leading the Tigers in rushing with 1,168 yards.
Aside from football, city officials and businesses in Columbia are preparing for the wave of people that will be invading Columbia come fall 2012. Oh party on Columbia, this Bud’s for you.
Thanks for reading.