Fresh off a road win in Big Ten country and with its Southeastern Conference opener on the horizon, Missouri is staring squarely in the face of a classic trap game against Arkansas State.
The Red Wolves have won 10 games in back-to-back seasons, but Bryan Harsin is also the fourth coach in four seasons and Arkansas State was handled rather easily by Auburn and Memphis already.
But Tigers coach Gary Pinkel sounded a cautionary note.
“We’re not good enough to just to breeze right in and try to play a game, because we’ll get whooped,” he said.
Fortunately, Pinkel doesn’t think Missouri will peek ahead to its the conference opener at Vanderbilt.
“This is about us playing our best game,” Pinkel said. “It doesn’t matter who we’re playing. It’s about playing our best football. We say we want to be a great team and we want to accomplish a lot this year, but if we’re begging our players to play hard and respect people then we’re not the team I think we are.”
In fact, senior wide receiver L’Damian Washington insists that Missouri isn’t thinking about the Commodores or any of the SEC’s powerhouses this week.
“We haven’t thought too far ahead about the SEC schedule,” said Washington, one of the Tigers’ four permanent captains. “Right now, it’s one game at a time. This is step four of 12. We know where we want to be at the end of the season, but we know the next game is the most important, so right now we’re focused on Arkansas State.”