Would a 6-0 start in 2015 convince Mizzou's doubters?
There’s a good chance two-time defending SEC East champion Mizzou starts the 2015 season without a loss through six games.
Will national media then pay attention?
You bet, but it’ll come with an asterisk.
The Tigers will have conquered the division’s least-challenging schedule at the halfway point without beating a single ranked team, beating up on three non-conference squads along with three underdog league rivals just trying to reach bowl eligibility.
The first true test for the nationally-ranked Tigers comes Week 7 between the hedges with first place in the Eastern Division on the line against Georgia. If Gary Pinkel and Co. can repeat some of 2013’s magic at Sanford Stadium and prevail, a win the following the week over Vanderbilt puts Mizzou just outside the Top 5 heading into its bye week at 8-0.
That’s when College Football Playoff talk would begin.
And it’s not so far-fetched peeking at the manageable slate.
- Sept. 5: vs. Southeast Missouri
- Sept. 12: at Arkansas State
- Sept. 19: vs. UConn
- Sept. 26: at Kentucky
- Oct. 3: vs. South Carolina
- Oct. 10: vs. Florida
- Oct. 17: at Georgia
- Oct. 24: at Vanderbilt
- Nov. 5: vs. Mississippi State
- Nov. 14: vs. BYU (Arrowhead Stadium)
- Nov. 21: vs. Tennessee
- Nov. 28: at Arkansas
By the time the Tigers and Bulldogs face off on Oct. 17, there’s a good chance Mizzou will hold a one-game lead on both of its primary competitors — perceived Eastern Division frontrunners Tennessee and aforementioned Georgia. The Vols and Bulldogs meet the previous week and luckily for the Tigers, take on defending SEC champ Alabama before either gets its only crack at Mizzou.
Mizzou misses both Western favorites while Georgia takes on both and Tennessee travels to Tuscaloosa where the Crimson Tide have won 16 straight games.
On paper, the Tigers’ toughest game appears to be their regular-season finale at Arkansas outside of their midseason trek to Athens. Mizzou’s other West opponent, Mississippi State, travels to Faurot Field for a Thursday night affair prior to the Tigers’ bye week.
Since joining the SEC, Mizzou is 4-1 after bye weeks with the only loss coming at home last fall against Georgia, a defeat that didn’t end up costing the Tigers the division after they reeled off six consecutive league wins to close out the regular season.
Benefiting from a favorable league schedule — by SEC standards — is paramount to a champion’s success and the 2015 slate sets up quite nicely for the Tigers.