Last week, the Missouri Tigers were generously ranked No. 33 in the USA Today re-rank. On Monday, the Tigers plummeted 14 places to No. 47.
I’m divided on whether the Missouri Tigers could be a top-25 team this season. Certainly, after their crushing loss against the No. 2 Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday, the Tigers (still) aren’t top-25 fodder.
In order for Mizzou to sniff a top-25 ranking, it will first have to win against South Carolina, and endure a decided loss to Alabama. If the Tigers can hold themselves together for those two games, then its remaining schedule is technically winnable.
The only game I see being a possible question mark for the Tigers is a home tilt against Memphis (3-1). I’m not buying into any hype being sold by Kentucky, and I think that game will hold a revenge factor for Mizzou following last year’s “jobbing” by the officials.
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Florida, Tennessee, and Arkansas are teams in a state of flux, while Vanderbilt is “Vandy.” Of the four remaining, a year ago, I’d say Arkansas would give Missouri its biggest test, but after losses to Colorado State and North Texas, I’m reluctant to give the Razorbacks much credit.
Realistically, it’s difficult to say with certainty how the Tigers’ remaining schedule will shake out. Including Alabama, Mizzou could lose at least four more games (South Carolina, Kentucky, Memphis), or it could go on a tear and only go belly-up against ‘Bama.
If the Tigers can play with consistency on both sides of the ball and not beat themselves, then Missouri could find itself in the top-25 within the next five weeks. If Kentucky is still ranked, and the Tigers pull off an upset win over the Wildcats, and their only other loss is to Alabama, then I think Mizzou has earned itself a top-25 ranking.
It will be the better half of a season before Missouri fans might see the Tigers listed in the AP top-25. Consistency in all phases of the Tigers’ game will be the deciding factor.