I’ve probably been too negative when it comes to Mizzou football this season. Before the season, I wrote a column in jest projecting the Mizzou quarterback competition, in which I projected a six to seven win team. Just as recently as two weeks ago, I wrote a column completely confused about how good the Tigers are.
But here we are, on October 25th, and the Tigers are sitting at 7-0 with a home date against South Carolina on the horizon. Win, and the Tigers take the SEC East race by the balls by all but clinching the division race. Even with a loss, the Tigers would still control their own destiny in the East.
I’d love to get excited, and I keep talking myself into the Tigers being SEC champs. But the Mizzou fan in me keeps wondering when the other shoe is going to drop. So it was watching the Florida State dismantle Clemson on Saturday night when it occurred to me what the most soul crushing way to end the season would be. And it doesn’t involve a loss.
Now Mizzou still has quite a few games that it could lose. The only game I would consider a sure win is at Kentucky. As a three point favorite this week, Mizzou is definitely not a sure thing against South Carolina, even with backup Dylan Thompson starting.
Tennessee has proven itself to be more formidable than most people thought at the beginning of the year. If Ole Miss can beat LSU at home, the Rebels can certainly upset Mizzou as well. And Texas A&M with Heisman winner Johnny Manziel and prospective All-American Mike Evans has the potential to outscore any team in the country.
If Mizzou can survive all of that, they would likely have a date with an Alabama squad that has won three of the last four national championships. So going 6-0 the rest of the way out is still a long shot. But that’s not what worries me. What worries me is that Mizzou wins out, and that’s not enough.
The Oregon Ducks have the look of a team that isn’t going to lose this year. The Ducks are a 22.5 point favorite over a ranked UCLA team, and will be favored against Stanford and in the Pac-12 Championship. In the ACC, Florida State only has two remaining tests – one against an undefeated Miami team, and the other a likely rematch against that same Miami team in the ACC title game. If both Oregon and Florida State go undefeated, I’m not sure that Mizzou will jump either one of them in the BCS standings.
And that’s the most Mizzou thing that could happen this year. In the final year of the BCS – which is likely the last time an undefeated
SEC team could ever be shut out of playing for the national title, Mizzou could go 13-0 and not make the national championship game. It would be the most heartbreaking way to possibly end the season.
To my knowledge, Missouri has really only had two legitimate chances to play for the National Championship. The first was in 1960, when an undefeated Tiger team lost to a Kansas team who was playing an ineligible player. The NCAA later made Kansas vacate the win, but the damage was already done to the Tigers national title hopes.
The second time was in 2007. After defeating number 2 Kansas at Arrowhead Stadium, Mizzou vaulted to number 1 in the BCS standings, with only a neutral site game against Oklahoma in their way. But Mizzou lost that game, and settled for a Cotton Bowl win over Arkansas.
At least both of those chances involved on field losses. I’m not even predicting Mizzou does go undefeated. If I had to guess (and I’ve been wrong all season), I would say Mizzou drops one regular season game, and the SEC title game, and finishes 11-2.
If Mizzou were to go undefeated in the conference which has produced the last seven national champions, and still not play for the title, it would be the biggest disappointment of them all. The year everything finally went right, and it still wasn’t enough. And in the last year of the BCS. That’s truly the most Mizzou ending possible to this season.