Missouri (3-0) has played progressively better this season, converting poll voters at a steady clip in the process.

The Tigers ranked No. 19 in the latest USA Today Coaches Poll and No. 18 in the Associated Press Poll, both released Sunday afternoon.

Missouri has increased its margin of victory from 20 to 25 to 28 points as the competition has gotten more difficult. The Tigers round out the non-conference schedule Saturday against Indiana, likely as heavy favorites. Take care of business there and Missouri almost certainly is guaranteed an SEC East showdown at South Carolina (2-1, 1-1) pitting two Top 20 teams.

Gary Pinkel’s team leapfrogged Kansas State in the Coaches Poll, moving up three slots. In a curious quirk, the five teams directly in front of Missouri in the Coaches Poll all have one loss (Georgia, Stanford, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Ohio State).

Missouri gained two spots in the AP Poll ranking close to No. 13 Georgia and No. 14 South Carolina. (Those are the only three SEC East teams ranked in either poll.)

This year’s rise has some parallels to a season ago, when Missouri didn’t enter the AP Top 25 until Oct. 6, then climbed to No. 5 by the end of the season. Voters seemingly expected Missouri to lose, especially when starting quarterback James Franklin got hurt, only moving the Tigers higher when the team’s pile of wins necessitated it.

The topsy-turvy SEC East awaits, but considering everything this team lost, continually getting better while putting away team after team is the ideal trajectory through three weeks.