• 2012 record: 5-7 overall, 2-6 SEC (fifth in East Division)
By TEREZ A. PAYLOR
The Kansas City Star
• Projected 2013 record: 8-4 overall, 4-4 SEC (fourth in East Division)
• Key starters lost: DT Sheldon Richardson, RB Kendial Lawrence, LB Zaviar Gooden, WR T.J. Moe, LT Elvis Fisher, SS Kenronte Walker, CB Kip Edwards, LB Will Ebner, G Jack Meiners.
• Key starters returning: CB E.J. Gaines, LB Andrew Wilson, QB James Franklin, DE Kony Ealy, LT Justin Britt, DT Matt Hoch, WR LDamian Washington, C Evan Boehm.
• Leader in the huddle: Senior quarterback James Franklin is looking for a bounce-back season after a disastrous 2012. Missouri has the speed, size and experience at the skill positions to make its spread offense work, but if the quarterback fails to get them the ball something that happened far too often last season even a stronger, healthier offensive line wont be enough to get the Tigers to a bowl game.
• Heres the catch: The secondary. Despite the loss of tackle Sheldon Richardson, Missouri returns three starters on the defensive line and a thumper in the middle in linebacker Andrew Wilson. But aside from preseason all-SEC cornerback E.J. Gaines, the secondary is a question mark. Neither junior Braylon Webb nor senior Matt White, the projected starters at safety, had an interception last season, and every corner aside from Gaines must show more consistency.
• End result: With 15 returning starters and an easier schedule, theres no excuse not to win at least six games and go to a bowl. In fact, it would be a disappointment if the Tigers, who have a higher ceiling than that if Franklin fully recaptures his sophomore-year form, arent sitting at 4-0 entering their Oct. 5 game at Vanderbilt. After a difficult first season in the Southeastern Conference, its imperative for coach Gary Pinkel to finish with a winning record and keep the momentum of the program moving forward.
|Aug. 31||Murray State||6 p.m.||W|
|Sept. 7||Toledo||2:30 p.m.||W|
|Sept. 21||at Indiana||7 p.m.||W|
|Sept. 28||Arkansas State||TBA||W|
|Oct. 5||at Vanderbilt||TBA||W|
|Oct. 12||at Georgia||TBA||L|
|Oct. 26||South Carolina||TBA||L|
|Nov. 9||at Kentucky||TBA||W|
|Nov. 23||at Mississippi||TBA||L|
|Nov. 30||Texas A&M||TBA||L|
| Terez A. Paylor, firstname.lastname@example.org | Projections by The Stars Blair Kerkhoff