Editor’s note: In preparation of the upcoming football season, K-Stated will look ahead to all 12 games on the Wildcats’ 2011 schedule. Next up, Baylor.
The Missouri Tigers lost Blaine Gabbert and Aldon Smith to the NFL, and for that reason no one is predicting them as a legitimate contender for a Big 12 championship this season.
But that doesn’t mean they still can’t make a run at 10 wins.
Missouri returns nine starters on offense and seven on defense from a team that lost to Iowa in the Insight Bowl last year. That’s more than enough talent to beat most of the opponents on its schedule.
Even though the Tigers don’t appear to be as strong as Oklahoma, Oklahoma State or Texas A&M, they do look a step above everyone else in the league. They open the season ranked in the Top 25.
James Franklin will take over for Gabbert, a great quarterback who threw for 3,186 yards and 16 touchdowns last season. He will have some good targets to throw to.
T.J. Moe returns after catching 92 passes for 1,045 yards and six touchdowns, and so do Michael Egnew, Jerrell Jackson and Wes Kemp. All three totaled more than 400 yards and three touchdowns a season ago.
That will give Missouri one of the best receiving corps in the league. Combined with Franklin’s running ability and a solid offensive line, it will be interesting to see how well the Tigers can move the ball.
Three starters return on the defensive line, and so do two linebackers. But Missouri may have some questions in the secondary, as several underclassmen will receive playing time.
The Tigers will take on Kansas State in Manhattan in early October this year. They will play two tough games beforehand (at Arizona State and at Oklahoma) and an easy one afterward (vs. Iowa State).
That could mean it’s a classic sandwich game for them, but they also have had the Wildcats’ number lately, beating them five straight times.
Everything else you need to know about this game:
When: Oct. 8
Missouri in 2010: 10-3, 6-2
Missouri schedule: Miami (Ohio), at Arizona State, Western Illinois, at Oklahoma, at Kansas State, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, at Texas A&M, at Baylor, Texas, Texas Tech, vs. Kansas
Series Record: Missouri leads 60-31-5
Other Factoids: This is definitely a series of streaks at the moment. After K-State piled up a mammoth winning streak of 13 against the Tigers from 1993 to 2005, Missouri has now beaten the Wildcats five straight. All five wins have come by 10 or more points … How stacked is Missouri’s receiving corps? Every player who caught a pass last season — eight receivers, four running backs and two tight ends — are back for more … The toughest stretch of the season for Missouri will come two weeks after it plays K-State. That is when it will take on Oklahoma State, followed by trips to Texas A&M and Baylor and then a home game against Texas … The Tigers like to end the year with an even number of wins. In the past five seasons they have won 8, 12, 10, 8 and 10 games.