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SEC 2015: Oh Missouri, It Gets No Respect

I'm probably wrong about this.

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The whole summer, the whole damn summer, it's been the same thing over and over and over and over. And over and over and over. And over and over. And over: "Oh Missouri, it gets no respect" or like, "Missouri, winner of the last two SEC East crowns is still flying under the radar" or like, "Despite back-to-back divisional titles, and a Maty Mauk, Missouri is still being picked to finish second, third, last, whatever ..." And I'm just like, oh, stop it already. You don't believe in Missouri, I don't believe in Missouri, Missouri doesn't believe in Missouri. The last two years came as a shock, but in hindsight there were reasons it probably should've been expected that Mizzou would take the East. But there's no reason to expect that outcome this year, and I'm tired of people looking for one, and I'm going to put in an end to it right now: It's not gonna happen again this year. It won't.

Now, I'll give you 2013: that was some damn good footballing right there. Missouri ran all kinds of through the SEC two years ago, and really, had it not just up and given away its game against South Carolina (a favor that was returned a year later), would have played in, and likely won, its first and last official BCS bowl game. The 2013 Missouri Tigers were a fine football team, one that deserved every bit of praise and awards it received.

Twenty-fourteen Missouri, though? Ehhhh. I mean, on one hand, it did beat Texas A&M and Arky, and blew out a not-that-terrible UCF team. Missouri won 11 games! Buuuuut Indiana, though? At home? And that curb-stomping at the hands -- er, feet -- of Georgia? I can't say 2014 Mizzou was a good team, but I can't say it was a bad one, either. No, it doesn't matter really, because that was last year and all; but I mean, Shane Ray, Markus Golden -- there were reasons to foresee Missouri's divisional crown last year, even if nobody actually did so.

And don't get me wrong, I've tried, but I see no reasons as to why I should predict Missouri to finish anywhere else but middle-of-the-pack this season. I mean sure, Gary Pinkel is a good coach obviously; and Kentrell Brothers will be an All-SEC First-Teamer and I'll predict All-American also. Missouri will win, like, it's first five games. It'll experience a brief slide, before beating Vanderbilt. Down the stretch, the Tigers will prevail over BYU and Tennessee — a pair of good wins, no doubt. So Mizzou's looking at eight wins, and I'll throw it a bowl win too, so nine. This is a very good outcome for Missouri, very good. But it won't win a third straight divisional title. It can't, right? How could it be done? And I mean really, why would the Tigers even want to go to Atlanta? Because we all know which direction the SEC Championship trophy is headed to, and it's not east.