We are ranking every opponent on Missouri’s schedule from No. 12 to No. 1 before the start of the regular season. Here are the previous installments: The weak links, feisty non-conference foes.

Missouri beat up the two teams from the Volunteer State in 2013, winning by a combined 82-31 en route to an SEC East title. It will be difficult to replicate a margin of more than 25 points per game, but the Tigers should be favored against the Commodores and Volunteers again in 2014.

7. vs. Vanderbilt

The only SEC fan base feeling more overlooked and disrespected than Missouri? Vanderbilt.

The Commodores are shooting for a third consecutive nine-win season under coach Derek Mason, the Stanford import brought in to replace James Franklin. Yet many of the media are picking them to finish sixth in the seven-team SEC East, ahead of only Kentucky.

Vandy also is facing a similar overhaul at receiver after losing 92 percent of its production at the position, including Jordan Matthews, the No. 42 overall pick in the NFL Draft.

Expect Mason to incorporate the running backs and tight ends in the passing game, much like the Cardinal have in recent seasons, and rely on a power run game. But Jerron Seymour is listed at just 5-foot-7, 196 pounds, and Brian Kembrow is even smaller.

Defense carried Vanderbilt during the Franklin era. The team will move to a 3-4 base scheme under Mason, who produced some fierce units as the defensive coordinator at Stanford. The Commodores have some horses in the front seven, including a strong group of linebackers. Vince Taylor, at 6-foot-1 and 310 pounds, is a good fit at nose tackle.

But the team is replacing four seniors in the secondary and lacks playmakers on offense.

Parcing the difference between Vanderbilt and Tennessee is akin to splitting hairs, at least on paper in preseason, but the Tigers get the Commodores in Columbia. Considering Missouri walloped Vandy, 51-28, in Nashville last season, the Tigers will be banking on a home win against an SEC East foe in this one.

6. at Tennessee

Butch Jones is a terrific marketer, if nothing else. That extends to recruiting and also encompasses unifying and exciting the fan base. The upset win against South Carolina last season also helped.

But can the Vols really reach the upper half of the SEC East this year while replacing all five starting offensive linemen?

Justin Worley won’t send any opposing fan bases into fearful shivers, but the Vols do boast a collection of speedy, talented receivers. Marlin Lane, the steady veteran, and Jalen Hurd, the team’s future, give Tennessee some options in the backfield, assuming the line opens up holes.

The defense should be faster than last season’s group, which struggled even more than most teams against speedy Oregon and Auburn. Senior middle linebacker A.J. Johnson is a media pick for first-team All-SEC. But the team still lacks depth, particularly along the defensive front.

Winning in Knoxville is never easy, even if the Vols are struggling to compile a .500 record. Missouri also must travel to College Station, Texas, the week before. But the Tigers will enter the game as a betting favorite, and must take care of business if the team plans to make noise in the SEC East this year.