Gary Pinkel has had a successful run in his decade-plus at Missouri. After experiencing losing seasons in three of his first four years in Columbia, the veteran coach has taken Mizzou to the postseason six consecutive times. That six-year run includes three bowl victories and two Big 12 North Division titles, which shows that Pinkel has built a solid college football program and has had more than just a two- or three-year run with a great quarterback. While much of the Missouri talk this season has centered on a Big 12 departure and a possible SEC upgrade, the players and coaches are focused on making a seventh-straight bowl. The Tigers currently stand at 2-3, and there are four Top 25 opponents — Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Baylor and Texas — remaining on the schedule.
Does Missouri make a bowl game?
Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch)
Missouri will make a bowl. It might not be easy, but Gary Pinkel’s team will find a way to get tosix wins and extend the school’s postseason streak to seven seasons. The Tigers are off to a bit of a slow start, but keep in mind that this team has faced a very difficult schedule, with road games against three teams currently ranked in the top 20 of both the AP and coaches poll — Arizona State (lost by three points in overtime), Oklahoma (by 10) and Kansas State (by seven). Let’s make the assumption that the Tigers will beat Iowa State at home this weekend and win at Kansas on Nov. 26 to close the season. That gives them four wins. So can they get two more from playing Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech at home and Texas A&M and Baylor on the road? The guess here is yes. Mizzou continues to get strong play from sophomore quarterback James Franklin, who has only thrown two interceptions in 161 attempts. The running game is a strength with Franklin and underrated tailback Henry Josey (11th in the nation in rushing). And the defense has been relatively strong as well. This is still a good team. No need to panic in Columbia despite the losing record.
Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
I’m a little worried about this Missouri team. The Tigers have not lost a bad game — Oklahoma and Kansas State are undefeated while Arizona State only has one loss — and all three were on the road. However injuries (left tackle Elvis Fisher, running backs Kendial Lawrence and De'Vion Moore, etc.) have been a major issue, and that attrition may cost Mizzou down the stretch. The Tigers should beat Iowa State this week, but then that four-game gauntlet of top opponents begins. While James Franklin is improving at quarterback, I’m not sure that the Tigers can keep up in Big 12 shootouts like they did in the past. Additionally, the defense is solid but not the top ten nationally-ranked unit from a year ago. Gary Pinkel is a quality coach and could very well rally the troops against a tough league schedule, but I see Missouri finishing 5-7 and missing the postseason.
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
It’s going to be tough, but I think Missouri can get to six wins and a bowl game this year. I think the Tigers will knock off Iowa State this Saturday, which gets them back to .500 with six games remaining. Kansas in the season finale should be in a win, so it’s just a matter of picking up two victories. Missouri has been really close to beating some good teams, with a 10-point loss to Oklahoma and seven-point defeats to Kansas State and Arizona State. With sophomore quarterback James Franklin continuing to get better as the season progresses and a defense that ranks third in the Big 12 in points allowed, Missouri is more than capable of pulling off a couple of upsets the rest of the season. With Texas and Texas Tech visiting Columbia in November, I think the Tigers will be able to finish with a 6-6 record and make another bowl trip under coach Gary Pinkel.
Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden)
It will not be easy, but I think Mizzou inches its way to six wins. The Tigers crushed Texas A&M, Kansas and Iowa State last season and so the Jayhawks and Cyclones are must wins. That means two more wins are needed somewhere. Texas, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State visit Columbia and at least one of those must be a win. Then there are road trips to Baylor and Texas A&M - in which Gary Pinkel's bunch would probably have to split to get bowl eligibility. With two quality wins - most likely Baylor and Texas Tech - the Tigers will go bowling.