The 2017 season was a roller coaster for the Missouri Tigers, who travel to Arkansas. Will Mizzou finish its season strong before bowl season?
The Missouri Tigers hold a 5-3 lead over Arkansas in games played. Arkansas would like to close that gap before it gets any wider, but you have to wonder if the hapless Razorbacks are capable of fulfilling that desire.
Last year, when the two teams played to close the season, Arkansas had a healthy lead on Missouri, and it seemed that the Razorbacks would easily pull the win away from the Tigers.
In the first half, Missouri’s play was flat and predictable, but in the second half, Mizzou looked like a changed team. Quarterback Drew Lock was hitting receivers in stride, and the Tigers’ game on the ground looked unstoppable.
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Missouri outscored the Razorbacks 21-0 in the second half, and sealed the win, 28-24, in what was probably the Tigers’ most exciting display of the season.
This time, the Razorbacks are hosting the Tigers, and to me, could be the better of the last three SEC opponents Mizzou has played.
The Razorbacks aren’t a good team, which would negate my last statement, but in a budding rivalry, bad teams can play good enough for a win.
On paper, Missouri (5-5, 3-4 SEC) looks far better than Arkansas, which is 4-7 overall, and only has one win in conference play.
At this point in the season, it’s easy to go with Missouri as the favorite to hand Arkansas its final loss of the season, being a team that has matured a lot over the last six weeks. Whether the Tigers win or lose, it’s also likely that head coach Bret Bielema will be looking for work.
I think it will be a close game throughout. Arkansas has the ability to put points on the board, which it’s done in contests against Ole Miss, Texas A&M and a surprising 20 points against Auburn.
Given this is a rivalry game, I’ll give the Razorbacks the benefit of the doubt in making this a close game. Missouri’s defense will have to do its part in limiting the Razorbacks on the ground and putting pressure on the quarterback.
My gut feeling is this game ends in a close win for Missouri, as the Tigers wrap-up their sixth consecutive win, and a winning record. Missouri 32, Arkansas 27. Kickoff is at 1:30 p.m. on CBS.