South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Missouri Tigers Preview: Missouri Looks to Prove Itself. Once More

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

There are some pundits who still doubt that Missouri is as good as it looks. Will a win against the Gamecocks finally kill the meme?

South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Missouri Tigers, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Fifteen points. Whenever someone argues that Missouri is overrated, that's the thing I keep coming back to. The Tigers have not been eking out wins against the admittedly so-so competition they've faced so far. They've been crushing opponents by at least 15 points a game, even as the schedule strength has escalated over the last few weeks.

"Oh, they haven't played an SEC team yet," we said. They beat Vanderbilt by 23 points in Nashville. "Well, that was Vanderbilt," was the reply. Missouri went to Athens and defeated Georgia by 15. "Georgia was injured." Mizzou breezed by Florida in a 19-point win.

At some point, we're going to have to drop the narrative that Missouri has lucked its way into the ranks of the undefeated. At least, those of us who continue to cling to that narrative will have to. Maybe a win against South Carolina will do the trick. Or maybe Missouri will have to go all the way to Atlanta, or even beat Alabama there, before anyone will give them their due. (Otherwise, it will probably be "Missouri was overrated," even if the likely loss to Alabama in the Georgia Dome is what would have happened to almost any team.)

For their part, the Gamecocks are coming to the end of a road trip that has shown what South Carolina is capable of, for better and for worse. The 52-7 annihilation of Arkansas in Fayetteville was an example of what South Carolina is capable of when it remains focused for an entire game (at least against a clearly overwhelmed opponent). The upset loss against Tennessee was the inevitable game where South Carolina's inability to play well for four quarters made them look completely unimpressive.

It's just that South Carolina's defense is not what South Carolina's defense is used to being -- and I don't think it can slow down the Tigers' offense enough to win. South Carolina keeps it closer than any other opponent on the schedule -- but in the end, the result is the same.

Missouri 41, South Carolina 28

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