• 2011 record: 8-5 overall, 5-4 Big 12 (fifth)
• Key starters lost: WR Jerrell Jackson, WR Wes Kemp, TE Michael Egnew, OT Dan Hoch, G Jayson Palmgren, G Austin Wuebbels, DE Jacquies Smith, DT Dominique Hamilton, DT Terrell Resonno, LB Luke Lambert, S Kenji Jackson.
• Key starters returning: QB James Franklin, RB Kendial Lawrence, WR T.J. Moe, LT Elvis Fisher, RT Justin Britt, DE Brad Madison, LB Zaviar Gooden, LB Andrew Wilson, CB E.J. Gaines, CB Kip Edwards, S Kenronte Walker.
• Banking on Franklin being his old self. Nicknamed The Tank, the 6-foot-2, 225-pound junior emerged as one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation last season. A torn labrum in his throwing shoulder during spring practice sidelined him for part of the offseason, but he has been running with the first team since camp opened.
• Dont bet on Making it through this season injury-free. Coach Gary Pinkel has maintained that this is the most banged up the Tigers have been during an offseason. Chances are backups and young players will have to step up.
• Smart money is on Missouri being competitive, at the very least. Missouri has evolved into one of the nations most consistent programs under Pinkel. The Sept. 8 home opener against Georgia could set the tone; beating a top-team team in their SEC debut would give the Tigers plenty of momentum and confidence to take on a tough schedule.
| Terez A. Paylor, email@example.com