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Missouri Tigers 2014 NCAA Football Gambling Odds & Predictions

2014-15 Football Predictions – (SEC) – Tigers

The Michael Sam narrative and the sociological strides that are occurring in all zones of society – including high-level competitive sports – dominated the press this past offseason when it came to the Missouri Tigers.

SEC 2014-15 College Football Previews:
Head Coach: Gary Pinkel
2013 Record: 12-2
Missouri Gambling Odds to Win 2014 BCS Championship: 66/1
Futures from sportsbook.ag

Though the hometown St. Louis Rams taking a flyer on Sam in the seventh round of the NFL Draft was a nice story, the reality from a football perspective is that the Tigers lost two elite pass-rushers in Sam and Kony Ealy. The funny part is, defensive end may still be a position of strength for the 2014 Tigers.

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Mizzou shocked many when they grabbed an SEC East division title last season. It’s high time the program got some respect in the SEC; as Missouri and Texas A&M were the new kids on the block, and they still excelled with the old-hand football powerhouses.

It may be tricky to duplicate last year’s 12 victories, but this team is still well-positioned to experience success in 2014. With that in mind, let’s analyze the strengths and weaknesses of this year’s Missouri Tigers squad.

Team Strengths

Despite losing Sam and Ealy, Mizzou should have plenty of speed off the edge with senior Markus Golden and junior Shane Ray. Golden racked up 6.5 sacks as a back-up last year, while Ray is an electric athlete all around. It will be a duo that terrorizes opposing QBs regularly.

Last year, Missouri had a run game that was second only to Auburn in the conference. The team returns the important pieces of its offensive line (C Evan Boehm, OTs Mitch Morse and Connor McGovern) and two of the key RBs, upperclassmen Russell Hansbrough and Marcus Murphy. Henry Josey is off to the pros, but the other two should be more than capable.

Sophomore QB Maty Mauk has shown flashes and performed well as a freshman when filling in for the injured James Franklin, but this should be the year that Mauk really breaks through as an impact player.

Team Weaknesses

An April dismissal of star WR Dorial Green-Beckham really hurt the playmaking ability of the WR unit. Senior Bud Sasser is adequate, but a legitimate target needs to emerge that isn’t currently there.

In a related vein, tight end is an unknown with sophomore Sean Culkin and freshman Jason Reese.

Apart from a talented and experienced defensive line, the Tigers’ defense is pretty green. Junior LB Kentrell Brothers and senior SS Braylon Webb are keepers, but everyone else raises question marks for co-ordinator Dave Steckel. Sophomore CBs John Gibson and Aarion Penton are highly-regarded for their athleticism, but they haven’t proven anything yet.
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The Tigers thought they were set at kicker with junior Andrew Baggett. While he has been good for the most part, he fell into a costly slump in October that curtailed with an OT three-point loss against South Carolina. Baggett must be steadier this time around.

2014-15 Missouri Football Prediction: 9-3

Mizzou returns many key elements of its team and has the talent to challenge any and all comers, but the graduating players have thinned out the depth. This means the Tigers are not well-equipped to deal with the injuries that inevitably crop up during a season.

The Tigers have four tricky conference road games which will test their mettle. Travelling to South Carolina, “The Swamp” in Gainesville (Florida) and Texas A&M’s Kyle Field should be especially daunting.

Still, Mauk looks like he’s ready to be the next great commander of the spread attack (Chase Daniel and Blaine Gabbert were better in college than in the NFL, true…but they were excellent at Missouri) and needs to show that he will have a productive career in Columbia.

If someone can emerge that will help offset the loss of Green-Beckham, the Missouri Tigers have the makings of a strong, well-rounded ballclub.

2014 Missouri Tigers Schedule

  • 8/30/14 S. DAKOTA ST. (FCS)
  • 9/6/14 @ TOLEDO
  • 9/13/14 UCF
  • 9/20/14 INDIANA
  • 9/27/14 @ S. CAROLINA
  • 10/11/14 UGA
  • 10/18/14 @ FLA
  • 10/25/14 VANDY
  • 11/1/14 KENTUCKY
  • 11/15/14 @ TEX. A&M
  • 11/22/14 @ TENN
  • 11/29/14 ARKANSAS

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