Mizzou Football: 2016 Could Be Better Than Fans Think

Missouri Tigers defensive end Charles Harris. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
Missouri Tigers defensive end Charles Harris. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports /

Mizzou football lost a heartbreaker on Saturday evening against (then) 16th ranked Georgia. Don’t give up hope yet, Tiger fans, this season is salvageable.

The expectations for Mizzou football this season weren’t the highest. That’s understandable too, after a lackluster campaign in 2015 in which the team lost seven of their final eight games and ended the year with a losing record.

This season has already been a little more promising, however, as quarterback Drew Lock has started to heat up and the defense has played much better. Defensive end Charles Harris is still a name to watch this season due to his ability to get after the quarterback and make plays.

Losses to a ranked team (especially a close loss) shouldn’t disappoint this fanbase too much though because the schedule isn’t that bad down the stretch.

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This upcoming week, the Tigers host Delaware State, which is a game they should dominate in. It’ll get tougher the two weeks after that, with trips to Death Valley to face LSU and then to the Swamp to face the Gators of Florida, but then it gets better.

Four weeks in a row, Mizzou football will square off against teams that they should be able to beat. Middle Tennessee and Kentucky will be at Faurot Field, the Tigers will travel to play South Carolina, and then will host Vanderbilt before hitting another rough patch in the schedule.

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These four games will be the key to Mizzou’s season. All four are beatable teams and two of them play in the SEC. South Carolina is downright awful this season and MU should be able to take that one on the road and then can return home and beat a lowly Vanderbilt squad.

Kentucky and Vanderbilt got the best of Missouri last season, both being games that the Tigers should have won.

Those losses changed the nature of the 2015 season and got into the players’ heads because after that, they were only able to win two games (South Carolina and then BYU at Arrowhead Stadium).

With Drew Lock showing he’s more comfortable throwing the football, and the defense stepping it up against Nick Chubbs and the Bulldogs last week, the Tigers have a shot at being eligible for a bowl game this year. It’s not going to be easy to beat LSU and Florida on the road, but Mizzou football has a chance to keep themselves relevant in 2016.

Also – Going back to the Georgia game, Missouri should have won that game, this much is true. They had the game within reach, but a last minute fumble cost them the victory.

This isn’t something that fans should dwell on because in all honesty, the Tigers shouldn’t have been contenders in that game. Georgia was a ranked team and yes, the game was in Columbia, but Mizzou football hasn’t shown they can beat anyone notable.

That in itself is something that should give the fans some confidence moving forward. They hung in there with a team they shouldn’t have been hanging in there with.

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Now I’m not saying this team is going to win out and go to the SEC Championship Game, but they should be able to make it to a bowl game. Also, next season and beyond will be better too, as Lock is showing maturity and Barry Odom will have a full year of being a head coach in the books.

What do you think, Tiger fans? Can this year’s team generate some buzz down the stretch?