Missouri returns 15 starters from the 2016 team, good enough for 31st overall in the S&P+ returning production ranking. 10 of those 15 starters return on the offensive side of the ball. The defense will need to replace 6 starters which could bet a net positive given how bad that unit was in 2016.
The Missouri offense should be absolutely explosive again this season. Offensive Coordinator Josh Heupel implemented a fast paced, read option air raid offense in 2016 and transformed the Missouri offense from one of the worst in the country to one of the best. That unit should be even better in its second year in Heupel's scheme especially considering they return 10 of 11 starters.
Missouri was the only team in the country last season to have a 3,000 yard passer (Lock), a 1,000 yard rusher (Crockett) and a 1,000 yard receiver (Moore); the Tigers bring all 3 of those players back in 2017. In fact, they bring back their top 3 rushers and top 3 receivers from a season ago. Drew Lock, the 2nd leading passer in the SEC last year, returns for his junior year under center. Lock put up monster numbers last year, but only had a 53% completion percentage which actually speaks more to the amount of drops, an area the Tigers need to improve on this year. He shouldn't have to worry about protection this year as Missouri returns all 5 offensive linemen from a unit that was outstanding in 2016 allowing only 14 sacks all season at a rate of 1.2 sacks per game, top 15 nationally. If I stopped here, you'd probably run to get down some money on Missouri futures, but that is only because I haven't touched on the Missouri defense and special teams.
The defense was a horror show in 2016 as Missouri finished 118th in the country after allowing 480 yards per game. The run defense was especially bad, which is why Head Coach Barry Odom brought in a sleuth of Junior College transfers on the defensive line. Missouri had one defensive strength last year which was generating pressure, but they will need to replace their best pass rusher as Charles Harris was drafted in the first round by the Miami Dolphins. Missouri should be solid at safety, but they will also need to replace both corners.
Missouri had kicking problems all last season. Tucker McCann returns at kicker after a season in which he only made 50% of his field goal attempts in addition to 4 extra point misses.
Expected Win Totals
CW Projected Total Wins: 6.7
CW Projected SEC Wins: 3.0
Posted Total Wins: O 6.5 +120
Home Field Advantage: 3.0
Opening Power Rating: 52.5
|Sep 2||Missouri St.||Missouri||MIZZ -24|
|Sep 9||South Carolina||Missouri||MIZZ -1.5|
|Sep 16||Purdue||Missouri||MIZZ -12|
|Sep 23||Auburn||Missouri||MIZZ +9|
|Oct 7||Missouri||Kentucky||UK -4|
|Oct 14||Missouri||Georgia||UGA -7.5|
|Oct 21||Idaho||Missouri||MIZZ -22|
|Oct 28||Missouri||UConn||CONN +17|
|Nov 4||Florida||Missouri||MIZZ +3.5|
|Nov 11||Tennessee||Missouri||MIZZ +3.5|
|Nov 18||Missouri||Vanderbilt||VAN -3|
|Nov 25||Missouri||Arkansas||ARK -4|
|Legend: After bye week / Overlook Watch / B2B road games / Neutral site|
Missouri overs will be worth a look every week especially with opening numbers early on in the season. I am itching for the release of the Missouri/Purdue total as I don't think books can set that number high enough. I wouldn't be surprised if both teams score 40+ points in a good old fashioned shootout. In 2016, Purdue averaged 78 snaps a game to Missouri's 80. Also, the addition of Jeff Brohm as Head Coach at Purdue should not deter any Overs in 2017.
Take Mizzou +3.5 or better when Tennessee comes to town. This game will be circled by everyone that was on the roster and staff last season. Tennessee beat Missouri 63-37 despite Missouri accumulating 740 yards of total offense including an astonishing 420 yards on the ground. Missouri players will be reminded every day leading up to the Tennessee game this year of the 4 turnovers and defensive no show in the 2016 blowout.
Missouri could get off to a hot start as they play all 4 of their September games at home which includes 2 free wins against Purdue and Missouri State. They will probably become Bowl eligible as a result of their absurdly easy out of conference schedule which includes games against Missouri State, UConn, Idaho and Purdue
Missouri was 0-5 ATS on the road in 2016.
Kaleb Prewett (OLB/FS) - The Kansas State transfer has plenty of defensive starts under his belt, and was considered a utility player in the linebacker and secondary rotations for the Wildcats. Missouri does return a couple of linebackers in the top 10 of returning tacklers from 2016, but none as experienced as Prewett. If Missouri wants to get out of the FBS cellar in Explosive Plays Allowed and Efficiency, they must get leadership from Kaleb Prewett on the defensive side of the ball.
Malik Young (DT) Missouri is relying on JUCO transfers on the defensive line to help improve a horrendous run defense from a season ago. The Tigers just received good news the other day when DT Rashad Brandon, another JUCO transfer, was cleared to play in 2017. However, they are still waiting on whether or not Malik Young, a JUCO All American, will become eligible. Getting both Young and Brandon eligible will provide some hope for the defense in a conference where you will need to be able to stop the run.
Unders are 17-6 the last 23 times Missouri has been a home favorite.
It all goes right if…
If Missouri can find some success on the road this year which will ultimately require some assistance from the defense. In Barry Odom's first season, the Tigers went 0-5 on the road. Missouri has a plethora of offensive firepower with an experienced offensive line that will keep Drew Lock upright, but the offense can only do so much if the defense can't stop a nosebleed.
It all goes wrong if…
The "read-and-react" defensive scheme stays in place. Generally, Mizzou is one of the toughest teams on Defense, but ranked 118th nationally giving up 479.7 yards per game. Barry Odom (who was the DC here at Mizzou in 2015) took over schemes and play calling mid-2016, but did not get any improvement from a squad that ranked close to last in all of FBS in Rushing, Efficiency, and Explosiveness.
- Missouri +3.5 vs Tennessee
- Missouri/Purdue Over
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