Missouri is the only real threat to challenge Nebraska for the Big XII North title and the Tigers also will be considered a team near the top 25 rankings come this preseason. Within the conference every major publication has them second with only The Sporting News having them at third behind Kansas.
Missouri's offense should improve off of their mediocre season they had last year, as they were middle of the pack in most Big XII offensive categories. Part of that has to do with the loss of Dave Christensen who was the offensive coordinator at Missouri for eleven years and was part of the Tigers staff for sixteen years. New offensive coordinator David Yost kept the same offense, but the offense did not click with the loss to QB Chase Daniel graduated in 2008. Blaine Gabbert is a promising five star rated recruit coming out of high school had a decent year leading the Tigers to the Texas bowl.
With a year under his belt and nearly the entire offensive line back the Missouri offense should be much better. Not to say his inaugural season was a failure as Gabbert had 24 TD's to nine picks, 3,593 yards, and nearly a 60% completion percentage. Drastically increasing those numbers will prove a tough challenge, but the way the offense will improve is in the running game. Last year, the Tigers leading rusher was Derrick Washington who had a decent year with 865 yards but had ten touchdowns. Not only does Washington return but so does the top three backs from last year, and with an offensive line that is experienced the running game will be the key for the Tigers to challenge Nebraska for the Big XII North title. Former high school Parade All-American Kendial Lawrence is expected to get an increase work load from his 200 plus yard season.
Coach: Gary Pinkel
Last season: 8-5 overall, 4-4 in the Big 12. Lost to Navy 35-13 in the Texas Bowl.
(minimum of six starts)
Offense (9): C Tim Barnes, T Elvis Fisher, QB Blaine Gabbert, T Dan Hoch, WR Jerrell Jackson, TE Andrew Jones, WR Wes Kemp, TB Derrick Washington, G Austin Wuebbels.
Defense (8): LB Will Ebner, LB Andrew Gachkar, CB Carl Gettis, SS Jarrell Harrison, T Dominique Hamilton, CB Kevin Rutland, FS Jasper Simmons, E Aldon Smith.
Special teams (1): K Grant Ressel.