Are the Missouri Tigers – dare we say it – showing signs of life?
The Black & Gold began the 2017 seemingly determined to prove that they were far-and-away the worst football program in the SEC. Week 1’s thrash-for-cash against Southeast Missouri State almost turned into a disaster, as SEMO scored again and again in the 1st half before Mizzou finally ran away with a win. After that, the Tigers scored an average of 10 points in 3 straight losses to Power-5 schools.
In Week 5, QB Drew Lock finally seemed to get on track, throwing 3 touchdown passes in a 40-34 loss to a strong Kentucky team. Surely, Missouri would fall back into embarrassment the following week against Georgia. But instead the Tigers managed 21 points in the 1st half and held it close until Kirby Smart’s #4-ranked Bulldogs could pull away.
Maybe Idaho picked the wrong time to visit an SEC school which looked like a cupcake only 3 weeks ago. The 2-4 Vandals have lost 4 of their last 5, falling to Sun Belt rival Appalachian State 23-20 last weekend after blowing a double-digit lead.
Who: Idaho Vandals at Missouri Tigers
When: Saturday, October 21st, 12 PM EST
Where: Memorial Stadium, Columbia, MO
Lines: Idaho (+14) at Mizzou (-14) / O/U Total: (63)
The Missouri Tigers have ran essentially the same offense for over a decade, bringing up obvious allusions to “Pavlov’s Dog,” “definition of insanity” and other cliches. The playbook involves 0 tight ends, a lone RB and 4 or 5 skinny WRs running around wondering what the hell happened to them. In short, Mizzou plays offense like a High School team – and not a very good one.
Any team that plays as wide-open as Missouri all the time is a feast-or-famine proposition. Running a 2-minute drill the entire game means that either your athletes will dominate the opposition, or vice versa. Given the recruiting malaise and recent controversies in Columbia, there simply aren’t enough outstanding players to give the squad a chance against power teams in the SEC.
But Lock could have a big day passing against Idaho, one of the weakest rosters in the Sun Belt. Idaho has played pretty good defense against conference opponents. Stronger opposition is a different story – UNLV had 350+ yards on the ground alone in a 44-16 beat-down of Saturday’s visitors.
Idaho won’t produce much offense, and should also afford the Tigers good field position.
This will be a jail-break week for the Tigers, who are bigger and faster than Idaho on the inside and on the edge. When the SEC comes calling again, forget it. But we expect a marginally-improving Mizzou team to easily romp Idaho this Saturday. Take Missouri to cover (-14) points.