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2017 SEC Football Season Preview: Missouri Tigers

Can second-year coach Barry Odom push his kids forward to a surprise season behind talented Drew Lock?

Delaware State v Missouri Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Missouri Tigers failed to make a bowl game for the third time in their five years in the SEC. The two years they made it to the postseason, they of course won the SEC East Division.

Going into his second year, Barry Odom and his Tigers are looking to bounce back.


2016 Review

Arkansas v Missouri
Mizzou celebrates with trophy after beating rival Arkansas
Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Record: 4-8

In their first year under their new head coach the Tigers struggled in a way that fans haven’t seen in a while.

It was a tough season that had a little of everything. They opened the season with a tough road loss to West Virginia. The way Georgia beat Mizzou weeks later was just gut-wrenching for this team.

A cupcake blowout win against Delaware State was the last of the fun for the Tigers, as they would drop five in a row. In those losses, they got hammered by LSU and Florida on the road. At home, they didn’t fare much better, with two disappointing defeat to Middle Tennessee and Kentucky.

A road loss to South Carolina was the last of the losing - for now - as they went on to beat Vandy the following week. After getting 60 points dropped on them by Tennessee, the Tigers found a way to end on a high note. They defeated Arkansas 28-24 on Senior Day, which was the end of a long, frustrating year.


Keys To Success in 2017

The Tigers return a lot of good talent to their offense. Namely, quarterback Drew Lock and wide receiver J’Mon Moore. These two, plus a very good group of talent around them, should make Mizzou one of the most prolific offenses in the nation.

A great offense will make Mizzou much more dangerous than expected.

Arkansas v Missouri Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

A defense that just wasn’t good last year has grown and added some talent back. Losing defensive lineman Terry Beckner Jr. hurt last year. His presence back on the D-Line will certainly help, as the Tigers will need a better effort for this team to have a chance at competing in the SEC.

This unit got torched a good amount last year. If they can be even an average team, let alone great, this will help them move ahead of schedule and be a very good team sooner rather than later.


Predictions

Vanderbilt v Missouri Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Best Record: 9-3

Worst Record: 5-7

This is not a team that looks like they can jump from worst to first in the SEC. But in a division that doesn’t scare much, this team could surprise everyone like they did before and go to Atlanta.

A lot will need to be proven by this team. But an improved season from Drew Lock and an improved defense could lead to this team repeating the magic of 2013 and 2014.

The worst that could happen is that this offense doesn’t come out and explode like expected and the defense struggles again. An early test against South Carolina should tell the story for this team early. A win against them could get this team some confidence and propel them to a good year.

On the other hand, a tough loss with the hard schedule ahead doesn’t bode well for these Tigers. Must-wins against SC, Kentucky, and Vandy will help, because matchups against Auburn, Tennessee, Georgia, Arkansas and Florida will be unfavorable.

Losing all five of those will lead to more trouble in CoMO. A bowl game this season should be a must, but in order to get there, the Tigers have to handle the more favorable matchups. If they do so, and find a way to beat three of the five monsters on the docket, the Tigers could sneak back into the SEC Championship Game for the third time in their six years in the conference.