When Texas A&M and Missouri made the move to the SEC, the popular thought was that the Tigers had a better shot at being successful in 2012. We were wrong. The Aggies exploded and the Tigers struggled. But the Tigers weren't as bad as their 5-7 record would lead you to believe.
Five of the Tigers seven losses came to teams that were ranked in the top ten at the time of the loss (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Texas A&M). How bout that draw they got out of the SEC West? Alabama and A&M? Ouch. The other two losses came against bowl teams (Syracuse and Vanderbilt). Overall, the Tigers played nine bowl teams and went 2-7 against them (beating Arizona State and UCF) and then swept the non bowl teams going 3-0. Missouri was also just ten points from going 7-5 so they weren't that far off.
According to Phil Steele, Missouri returns twelve starters (six on offense and six on defense). The biggest trouble spots look to be the offensive line (two starters returning) and the linebacking crew (one starter returning) as well as the loss of DT Sheldon Richardson to the NFL Draft.
A key to the Missouri season will be how they handle injuries as this isn't a very deep team from a talent perspective. RB Henry Josey could be a key if he can come back from his "catastrophic knee injury" he suffered in 2011. Even though QB James Franklin returns, I would expect the position to be wide open this spring. I expect Franklin to be the starter in 2012 but I wouldn't be surprised if one of the young guys saw significant action in 2013.
2013 looks like it will be very similar to 2012 for the Tigers but with a few bounces their way and less injuries, the Tigers could improve by two or three games in the win column. The schedule is easier this year for the Tigers, at least on paper, but I would set the over/under on the Tigers at six wins for the 2013 season.
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