SEC Football News on Saturday Down South

Missouri Strength of Schedule: The SEC’s 12th toughest schedule

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SDS takes a trip around the SEC and ranks the schedule strength of all 14 SEC teams. We’ll work our way down to the toughest schedule in the SEC. Next up is Missouri.

Previous Schedule Rankings:

Welcome back to the SEC, Missouri.

The Tigers didn’t exactly have the kind of splash that everyone had hoped in a new conference. The offense experienced a rash of injuries, while the defense actually played better than expected. Depth was an obvious concern and still is for 2013. Missouri’s offense stands to improve this fall, and the defense should at least remain status quo. And that bodes well for an improved season, because the schedule is certainly manageable for a bowl game. Missouri is expected to play four preseason ranked teams in Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and Texas A&M. And the worst part about the conference gauntlet is the that Tigers play the Bulldogs, Gators and Gamecocks in consecutive weeks. In 2013, Missouri’s strength of schedule ranks No. 12 in the SEC.

2013 Missouri Tigers Schedule

  • Aug. 31st – Murray State
  • Sept. 7 – Toledo
  • Sept. 21 – at Indiana
  • Sept. 28 – Arkansas State
  • Oct. 5 – at Vanderbilt
  • Oct. 12 – at Georgia
  • Oct. 19 – Florida
  • Oct. 26 – South Carolina
  • Nov. 2 – Tennessee
  • Nov. 9 – at Kentucky
  • Nov. 23 – at Ole Miss
  • Nov. 30 – Texas A&M

By The Numbers

  • 7 Home Games
  • 5 Road Games
  • 2 Cupcakes
  • 4 Preseason top 25 projected opponents (Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and Texas A&M)

Strength of Schedule Rank

  • SEC East: 7th
  • SEC: 12th

Notes

  • Cross-divisional opponents: Ole Miss and Texas A&M
  • Opponents winning percentage in 2012: 96-56 (63.1%)
  • Bye weeks: Before Indiana and Ole Miss

Missouri’s strength of schedule is impacted in a few different ways. The Tigers’ schedule reminds me much of Mississippi State’s schedule last season. MSU started out with a weak front end before hitting the home stretch and facing the SEC gauntlet in their last five games. The Bulldogs started off hot and sizzled out once they reached the meat of the SEC competition.

Missouri’s schedule starts the same way. They play four non-conference opponents in their first four games before hitting the SEC schedule in a frenzy. Murray State, Toledo, Indiana and Arkansas State are all winnable games, and this non-conference draw is quite favorable compared to those of other teams – so they certainly have a shot to start out 4-0. The stretch of Vanderbilt, Georgia, Florida and South Carolina would be tough for any SEC team.

The Tigers don’t have a natural non-conference rivalry like Florida, South Carolina or Georgia have, and the current permanent cross-divisional opponent is Texas A&M. It’s presumed that opponent becomes Arkansas in the future, depending on how scheduling plays out. Missouri’s other cross-divisional opponent is Ole Miss in the second to last weekend, and that will be a great benchmark for the Tigers as 2013 draws to a close.

Ironically last year, the Tigers also had the #12 ranked schedule and won only five games.

To conclude, Missouri’s strength of schedule sets up for success on the front end before hitting the gauntlet on the back end. A hot start to the season and an improved offense would bode well for a bowl game appearance and six wins. The Tigers could very well be sitting at five total wins heading into the last two weeks against Ole Miss and Texas A&M, having to win one to notch a bowl game. There’s a real chance to win either five or seven games, and 2013 will be a defining year for Gary Pinkel.

Be on the lookout for the rest of this series as we break down every schedule in the SEC for the 2013 season.

Photo Credit: Dak Dillon-USA TODAY Sports





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Comments 2

  1. Wha???? Last year, Mizzou had – by most accounts — the nation’s TOUGHEST schedule. Mizzou’s non-conference opponents Ariz. St., @C.Fla, Syracuse each won their bowl games big and finished 8-5, 10-4, 8-5, respectively (+Syr.& CFla. were each reg. season co-champs in their conferences). In conference, Mizzou’s opponents finished 11-2, 11-1, 9-4, 13-0, 2-9, 11-2, 5-7, 11-2.