SEC Team Preview Series: Missouri
Welcome to WNSP’s preview series to get you ready for SEC and Sunbelt Media Days. Each day, we will preview a new team in each conference and get you ready for football season. We’ll take a look at what Vegas has their win total set at, make a prediction, and talk about their season outlook. Today’s team: The Missouri Tigers
Players to watch:
Offense: QB Brady Cook, RB Cody Schrader, WR Luther Burden III
Defense: CB Kris Abrams-Draine, DE Trajan Jeffcoat
Special Teams: K Harrison Mevis
O/U Win Line: 5.5
Dave Schultz’s Pick: Under
Mark Heim’s Pick: Under
Lee Shirvanian’s Pick: Under
Nick Wiggins’ Pick: Over
Michael Brauner’s Pick: Over
Missouri has certainly not been a terrible team during the Eliah Drinkwitz era. They beat teams that finish with a losing record, with nine straight wins against such opponents over the last two seasons but have also lost 11/12 against power five opponents who finish with a winning record. Can the Tigers take the next step in 2022?
Drinkwitz has certainly recruited like a program ready to make a leap, with five-star freshman receiver Luther Burden III ready to make an immediate impact in Columbia. The starter under center for the past two seasons in Connor Bazelak is gone, electing to transfer to Indiana. Brady Cook, who started in the bowl game in his place and performed admirably, is the presumed starter at least to begin the season.
Star running back Tyler Badie is also gone, but is being replaced by Elijah Young, who was solid in the bowl game against Army as well as transfer portal addition Cody Schrader, a 2,000-yard rusher in 2021 for Division II Truman State. Senior star receiver Tauskie Dove returns as well, but pieces on offense will mean nothing if they can’t get at least decent quarterback play out of Cook.
On defense, the Tigers will have to replace a bit more. Kris Abrams-Draine, who was originally a receiver commit to Missouri, has quickly become one of the most important pieces of the secondary and has a chance to be an early-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Outside of him, Trajan Jeffcoat is back setting the edge, but the Tigers lose their top three defensive tackles and Drinkwitz has his fourth defensive coordinator in four seasons going back to his days at Appalachian State.
Harrison Mevis is one of the best kickers in the country and should be able to knock in some clutch field goals for Missouri.
Schedule wise, the path to 6 wins is not going to be particularly easy. They must win all three of their layup games against Abilene-Christian, Louisiana Tech, and New-Mexico State and if they do, they’re already halfway there. Count a win against Vanderbilt at home and that’s four.
With road matchups against Kansas State, Florida, Auburn, South Carolina, and Georgia at home, things do get tough for the Tigers. But I like their chances to pull out two wacky wins, perhaps against Kentucky at home or Kansas State on the road. 6-6 seems like a fair prediction for this squad, but I will certainly not be shocked to see a 5-7 or worse.