M-I-Z S-E-C round two
By Mika Cummins
October 22, 2013
I have always been a Kansas Jayhawk fan. And with that, I would like to state the following.
It’s time the Missouri Tigers are given the respect they deserve from their SEC opponents.
Mizzou made the decision to move to the Southeastern Conference (SEC) in the spring of 2011. The switch would officially go into effect in the fall of 2012.
That season, Mizzou football went 5-7 in their SEC debut. The Tigers’ roster was the most injured roster in the SEC. Quarterback James Franklin was hurt in almost every game with an array of injuries. Their offensive line was also battered and bruised, with lineman Justin Britt out for the last three games with an injured knee.
The Tigers wrapped up the 2012 season giving off the message that maybe they weren’t meant to be in the conference after all.
But, just as almost every Midwest sport seems to be doing this year, the Tigers have made one hell of a name for themselves this season.
In 2012, they lost to Vanderbilt, Florida and Georgia. They opened up 2013 SEC play at Vanderbilt for the fifth game of the season. Mizzou dished out a 51-28 victory over the Commodores on the road.
Mizzou went into the following week picked as underdogs in a game against Georgia. The Tigers headed between the hedges to beat the Bulldogs 41-26. Unfortunately, Franklin injured his shoulder in the game, and is out for three to five weeks.
Just this past weekend, the Tigers were able to head back to Columbia, Mo. to welcome the no.22 ranked Florida Gators to the Zou. Redshirt freshman Matty Mauk started his first game as quarterback for the Tigers. In a game in which they were, once again, picked as underdogs, Mizzou fought their way to an impressive 36-17 win over the Gators.
After defeating Vandy, Mizzou entered the top 25 in the NCAA with a no.25 ranking. The following week, after a win over Georgia, the Tigers once again climbed the rankings to claim the no.14 spot. And after Saturday’s win over Florida, Mizzou now has the no.5 spot in the NCAA, and are fifth in the first BCS rankings of the season.
The Tigers currently sit at a pretty 7-0 overall record and 3-0 SEC record. They are also on top of the SEC East with a two-game cushion.
EJ Gaines, a starting cornerback for Mizzou, was out with a right quad strain for both the Georgia and Florida games.
Both teams are pretty banged up, just like the Tigers were last year. That’s the reason I’m tired of opposing teams saying, “Well, beat us when we’re healthy.” If Mizzou didn’t get to use that excuse last season, these other teams don’t get to use it this season.
But, a shining light for Mizzou is defensive back Michael Sam. Sam currently leads the NCAA in sacks with nine total. He has also been named the SEC Defensive Line Player of the Week three times so far this season.
The Tigers are set to play South Carolina in the 102nd Homecoming game this Saturday. If Mizzou can claim a victory over them, they have essentially punched their ticket for the SEC Championship game.