The preseason projections for Missouri have not been kind since they joined the SEC. In 2013, Missouri was ranked sixth in the SEC East before winning the division. Last year, Missouri was ranked fourth before repeating as division champs. Even so, Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel isn't curious to know if others are now giving his program the respect they've earned, "If you picked us first or third or fourth or fifth, it wouldn't have any impact on me at all." Filtering out the noise is also employed when recruiting for the Tiger's staff. Pinkel noted that star rankings aren't included in his staff's evaluations, but that approach has been rewarded with high number of NFL Draft picks.
Despite Missouri's penchant for making most college football fans feel like idiots come November, Pinkel was candid about the improvement the team needs heading into 2015. Quarterback Maty Mauk has a sterling career record as a starting quarterback in the SEC, but he needs to be more consistent. The rest of the offense needs to do their part too, and center Evan Boehm—who has started 40 games—will be integral to the offense in 2015.
Mizzou will have to replace several studs on the defensive side of the ball too. Markus Golden and Shane Ray have matriculated to the NFL, and Harold Brantley was lost to injury this off-season. Pinkel did single out Kentrell Brothers, Josh Augusta, Terry Beckner, Jr., and Charles Harris as two defensive linemen who can have an impact this season. If any team in America can weather defensive line losses it's going to be Missouri.
An typically understated Gary Pinkel is poised to wreak havoc on the SEC East again this season.