On Saturday, the Missouri Tigers find themselves behind the proverbial eight ball once again, as they visit No. 13 Florida in “the swamp.”
The Missouri Tigers once again find themselves in a bit of a pickle, as their hopes of playing better football this year fell flat, as their bid at winning some “prove it” games failed.
The Tigers have what amounts to a last shot at a chance to beat their final ranked opponent of the season, Florida, on Saturday. Last year when these teams faced each other, the Gators were a team in turmoil, and the Tigers were in resurgence.
Last week’s game against Kentucky was head coach Barry Odom’s opportunity at a signature win against a ranked opponent. The Tigers came oh, so close for the second time this season, before a set of bad play calling amid a lackluster offensive performance during the second half sank Mizzou’s chances.
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While the Gators still aren’t a complete team, I think they will play the Tigers harder than Kentucky did, which could bring another meltdown performance by Mizzou.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Mizzou defense will once again face quarterback Feleipe Franks, who is still finding his way, coming off a down performance against Georgia, in which he contributed an interception and a fumble.
Once again, the Tigers play a top defense. Missouri quarterback Drew Lock will have to make smart decisions with the football and as the adage goes, take what the defense gives him. There’s still no official word on wide receiver Emanuel Hall’s status to return, but that would provide a nice boost and an additional weapon for the Tigers offense.
There are two psychological factors at play against Missouri on Saturday: The Gators are coming off a tough loss to Georgia, which they will look to recover and play smarter, and Florida will play the revenge card from last year’s loss to the Tigers.
Likewise, the Tigers have psychological factors at play, as well. Mizzou has suffered two particularly embarrassing losses in games which the Tigers led, but coughed up in the second half. The Tigers’ loss to Kentucky still fresh in their minds, should have everyone on edge and ready to play their best.
I don’t want to be “that guy,” but today I am. I’m not picking the Missouri to win this week. After last week’s performance, the Tigers have not proven they can win consistently in close games, against ranked opponents, or play a complete game. They were close against Kentucky, but they failed to close the deal. Florida 27, Mizzou 21.