Campus Corner

Season projection: Mizzou

Here’s the deal. Missouri should be a little better than last year’s 8-5 team, but it moves into a more difficult conference. There’s hardly any history to base a forecast, but here we go:

Sept. 1 Southeastern Louisiana

New coaching regime for the Lions, and this will be a dress rehearsal for the Tigers. W

Sept. 8 Georgia

They all count the same, but first impressions are important. Mizzou’s offensive line injuries are a concern against what should be a tremendous defense. Dawgs are dealing with suspensions and have a tendency to stumble early. Tigers have lost only one home game in the last two years, and Faurot will be on fire. Georgia in an escape act. L

Sept. 15 Arizona State

Sun Devils start over with Todd Graham. By the third week, Arizona State should be settled at quarterback, but either way it will be a newbie. The Tigers owe the Sun Devils from last season. W

Sept. 22 at South Carolina

First conference road test for the Tigers, and by the end of this day, Missouri will have a good handle on the division race. If Mizzou emerges from the month with a 2-0 league mark, they become the division favorite. And because Georgia and the Gamecocks are the favorites, a 0-2 start doesn’t knock Missouri from the race. L

Sept. 29 at Central Florida

I hope you’ll enjoy The Star’s 58-page football section on Sunday. MU beat writer Terez Paylor has an in-depth look at freshman stud wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, who’s listed as a tight end on the Tigers’ latest depth chart. In the section, I pick Missouri’s record. Actually, I pick it twice, and it is a testimony to the great uncertainty/mystery surrounding the Tigers’ prospects and my forgetfulness that I have Tigers finishing with different overall records. In one place I have them 8-4 and in another 7-5. This was the game that caused the confusion. Initially, I had the Tigers losing here. Central Florida is a Conference USA division favorite. It doesn’t appear Tyler Gabbert, the former Tiger, will be the starter, but Central is a quality program that beat Georgia in a bowl game two years ago. Sometime between making this call and coming up with another record for a different section, I gave the victory to the Tigers (and forgot to change the original). If they’re coming off a loss at South Carolina focus shouldn’t be an issue. It’s tough to play non-league games after the conference schedule has started and the Tigers do that three times this season. W

Oct. 6 Vanderbilt

Quarterback James Franklin gets the better of Coach James Franklin. W

Oct. 13 Alabama

The defending national champion comes to Columbia off a bye week. I can’t tell you how many Tide fans have told/emailed/messaged me about coming to this game. They say they enjoy visiting new college towns and stadiums. If Alabama wins at Arkansas in the third week the Tide should be undefeated here. L

Oct. 27 Kentucky

A good opponent for the 101st Homecoming. W

Nov. 3 at Florida

I heard a Florida expert say recently that Gators fans would be thrilled with a nine-victory season, which surprised me. But Florida has gone 8-5 and 7-6 over the previous two seasons and continues to rebuild. By this time, Florida figures to have settled on a quarterback between Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett. This is the type of game Missouri must have to become a 10- or nine-victory team. L

Nov. 10 at Tennessee

How about the Vols’ record over the past four seasons: 5-7, 7-6, 6-7, 5-7? Not long ago Tennessee was an SEC top dog and seemingly always part of the national title picture. Losing wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers doesn’t help the progress. W

Nov. 17 Syracuse

Rethinking the notion of playing non-conference games after league play has commenced: Nearly everybody is a new opponent for the Tigers this season. Theirs is no muscle memory except for Arizona State and Texas A&M, and both programs have new coaches. You know how you get fired up for good non-league opponents – for Missouri, the Illinois games in St, Louis? It’s going to be like that every week for the Tigers. W

Nov. 24 Texas A&M

The concern for Mizzou here is A&M likely is playing its final game of the season, while Mizzou should be jockeying for bowl position. The Aggies will want to finish on a good note, and they lug a two-year Kyle Field losing streak to Missouri. On the final weekend of new beginnings for both programs, Missouri collects victory No. 8. W.