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Rogue tutors. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, they’re not high on the list in Columbia right now with the Missouri Tigers currently on double secret probation due to getting hit with sanctions. That means Barry Odom’s kids are ineligible to play in the SEC Championship Game or partake in any bowl game at season’s end. It’s a darn shame to! Mizzou has a really nice roster heading into the 2019-20 season that could ultimately compete with the big boys for conference supremacy. Drew Lock has been replaced with former Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant, and both sides of the ball return some standout talent. If ever there was a team playing with a chip on its shoulder, the 2019 Missouri Tigers are it! Who knows, maybe playing with the extra aggression pays off handsomely as the team looks to play spoiler and improve upon its 7-6 record against linemakers at offshore sportsbooks.
Lock sure was fun to watch throughout his stay in Columbia. He wrapped his career up and headed to the NFL off a stellar campaign that saw him throw for just under 3,5000 yards and a nifty 28:8 TD/INT ratio. While Bryant is by no means the passer Lock was, he still knows his way around a football field and has the experience of going to the College Football Playoff. That’s something Lock didn’t bring to the table. On top of that, Bryant adds a dimension with his legs that will allow Mizzou’s offense to be a bit more diverse. Larry Rountree III took a while to get started last season, but he finished with a flourish ending up with over 1,200 rushing yards and 11 TD. He’s got an impeccable front wall opening up holes for him, and also has the benefit of having another game breaker beside him in the form of Tyler Badie who impressed as a freshman. If that’s not enough, Bryant gets the advantage of having a prototypical NFL tight end to get the pigskin to in Albert Okwuegbunam after the junior averaged 10.8 yards and scored 6 TD on 43 receptions. He’s one of many excellent pass catching options with the wide receiver corps a strength as well with senior Jonathan Johnson back after leading the team with 59 catches and scoring 5 TD.
Had Missouri found a way to get to the quarterback last season, it would’ve ranked out amongst the best defenses in the SEC as well as the country. The unit as a whole only managed to come up with 27 overall sacks. Even with the limited pressure, the stop unit still went on to hold its own in ranking No. 60 overall and No. 50 in points allowed. It was a stone wall against the run in conceding 126.5 yards per game to rank No. 22 overall, but was an absolute sieve against the pass ( No. 111 ). For it all to come together this season, the secondary is going to need to step its game up big time. There’s no excuse for it not to with the top three cornerbacks and top four safeties all back in the mix. Cale Garrett will once again prove to be a tackling machine in the middle of the field after coming off a season in which his 112 tackles with 6.5 going for a loss earned him All-SEC performer accolades. More production will be expected up front. Akial Byers and Chris Turner play the parts of defensive ends very well as big they are. Now, they need to utilize that size and get after the quarterback at more effective rates. If a more efficient pass rush develops, this unit could be special.
The university filed appeals in hopes of getting the postseason ban lifted. College football bettors won’t know the determination of that appeal until mid-August at the earliest. Regardless of the final say, the betting markets aren’t sitting back and waiting. They’re bullish on Mizzou evidenced by the heavy -150 vigorish attached to the over of the Tigers’ 8-game season win total odds. Bowl game or no bowl game, you can’t help but think Mizzou goes all out to lay the ground work for success down the road. This is still a very young and talented roster that if nothing else could use this season as a springboard for when it could be in the thick of the SEC title race the following season. Don’t be shocked if the team is undefeated going into the Week 10 bye!