2019 Missouri Tigers Football Predictions and Odds to Win National Championship
It's going to be a bit of an odd season for the Missouri Tigers. They are a solid team that should easily win enough games to be bowl eligible, but they won't be able to play in a bowl no matter how well they do. They also wouldn't play in the SEC Championship Came if they made that, but there seems to be little risk of that happening. Thanks to a tutor who was doing schoolwork for players, the team has received a postseason ban this year. It's a blow to the team for sure, but they need to make sure that it doesn't become a distraction. The offense should be better than it initially seemed it would be after losing Drew Lock, and this team is in a pretty good place - they are 14-6 in their last 20, which is pretty good for a team like this illogically stuck in the SEC.
2018 in a Nutshell
When you looked at the schedule before last season started, you knew that the Tigers were very likely going to lose to Georgia and at Alabama. And they did in two games that weren't particularly close. The other two regular-season losses were less obvious, though - they lost by two at South Carolina in between the losses to the two titans of the conference, and they lost by one at home to the surprising Kentucky squad that won 10 games last year. Losing two games by a combined three points is rough, and leaves you thinking of what could have been. The team did have pretty close to a signature win when they absolutely crushed Florida, winning 38-17 in Gainesville. That kicked off a four-game winning streak to end the regular season that was their most dominant ball by far. The 8-4 record earned them a date with Oklahoma State in the Liberty Bowl, and they lost 38-33 in an entertaining back-and-forth battle.
Key Additions and Departures
The biggest departure was Drew Lock, the strong four-year starter at QB who felt like a steal when the Broncos picked him in the second round. With Lock and Emanuel Hall, a receiver who was a great deep threat with strong chemistry with Lock, gone, it seemed like the Tigers could be destined to take a step back offensively after having been a Top 20 unit last year. But it might not work out that way. Kelly Bryant left Clemson as soon as he was beaten out by Trevor Lawrence last year, so he preserved his senior season despite playing in four games last year because of the new redshirt rules. He settled on transferring to Missouri - notably, that decision was made before the postseason ban. Bryant has a career completion rate of 66 percent, and he can run, too, so he has a good chance of doing some damage here. He has an experienced line, solid receivers beyond Hall, and a very good running back, so the offense has a chance to be quite good.
The team also got another transfer at QB. Shawn Robinson started a game as a freshman and seven last year at TCU but left the program at the end of last season in odd circumstances. He has to sit out this year but will be in line to replace Bryant. And DT Chris Daniels from Texas and receiver Jonathan Nance from Arkansas are two more transfers who could make an impact right away.
The recruiting class ranks 37th nationally, which is a slight improvement from last year - though they ranked 13th in the SEC both years, so they are dealing with an ongoing talent shortage compared to their rivals. The class isn't likely to provide a lot of short-term impact for this team.
Biggest Area of Concern
It's the transition to Bryant, in my eyes. Bryan is talented and experienced, and he has a fair bit to work with here. But he is a very different quarterback than Lock, and he joins a team that is very different than Clemson. Chemistry between Bryant and his new team will be crucial, and the coaching staff - led by offensive coordinator Derek Dooley - will have to figure out how to give him the best chance for success. They don't have time to mess around since he's only around for one year. On top of that, I'm a little worried about Bryant himself. He quit on Clemson when he lost the job. So, will he fight hard for this team if he hits a rough spot given that the postseason doesn't loom at the end of the tunnel?
Missouri Tigers Schedule Analysis
Aside from two brutal games in a row, this schedule could certainly be worse - especially in the SEC. They open up at Wyoming before hosting a West Virginia team that is pretty underwhelming this year after a coaching change. SE Missouri State is a gift of a game, and South Carolina is not going to be particularly strong. Troy can be dangerous but is due for an off year. Then comes as soft a stretch of games as you can get in the SEC this year - Ole Miss at home, then at Vanderbilt and Kentucky. Then comes that tough stretch - at Georgia and then against Florida a week later. Then they finish off with another simpler stretch against Tennessee and then at Arkansas. I break that down as three certain wins, two very likely losses, and seven winnable games in the middle that will define this season.
2019-20 Missouri Tigers Betting Odds and Trends
Since the team can't participate in the postseason, they can't win anything, so there are no futures odds. If you really want to bet on the Tigers, the best you can do is take Kelly Bryant to win the Heisman. At +2500, he is in a group of players sitting behind 12 guys at lower odds.
2019-20 Missouri Tigers Predictions and College Football Picks
I don't entirely trust Bryant, but on paper he is a decent fit. And he has a lot to work with. Defensively, they have some solid experience. And aside from questions about their ability to pressure QBs, they should be decent enough. The range here seems like seven to nine wins, and I lean solidly towards the higher end. The risk, though, is that without the bowl game hanging there as an incentive, an ugly loss could really highjack the season.
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