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Mizzou heads into SEC with Independence Bowl win

James Franklin, Tim Scott AP

Missouri didn’t quite have the final season in the Big 12 for which they were hoping, but the Tigers at least ended 2011 on a high note with a 41-24 victory over North Carolina in the Independence Bowl to send them off to the SEC next season.

Besides, it may be a while before Mizzou scores 41 on anybody in the SEC.

The win gives Missouri an 8-5 record to finish the season (North Carolina falls to 7-6), but a closer review Mizzou’s schedule  shows this was a better team than their record indicated. The Tigers’ four conference losses this year were to Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Baylor and Oklahoma — the top four teams in the Big 12. Three of those four losses were on the road and two were by a touchdown or less; a 45-24 beating by Oklahoma State at home was Mizzou’s worst loss of the season.

And let’s not forget Mizzou lost to Arizona State in overtime early in the season back when the Sun Devils were playing much better football.

The point is that this is a team that easily could have had 8-10 regular season wins.

Believe it or not, the Tigers may not drop off too much next season. The SEC schedules haven’t been revealed yet, but there’s no reason to think today that Gary Pinkel’s group wouldn’t be the second or third-best team in the SEC East with the players they have coming back, including quarterback James Franklin, leading rusher Henry Josey and leading receiver T.J. Moe if he decides not to declare for the draft.

Of the two Big 12 teams leaving for the SEC, Mizzou might have an easier transition than Texas A&M. That’s not to say the SEC East is a cakewalk, but it hasn’t been as top heavy as the West.

We’ll see for sure next fall, but today’s Independence Bowl win, in which Mizzou put up 337 rushing yards on what was supposedly a Top 15 rush defense from North Carolina, provided plenty of reason for optimism that Mizzou could be surprisingly competitive in their first year in the SEC.

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10 Responses to “Mizzou heads into SEC with Independence Bowl win”
  1. alligatorsnapper says: Dec 26, 2011 9:04 PM

    Congratulations to Mizzou. A good ending to this season and a good game before the SEC. The SEC is not a cake walk, not even the teams which are not at the top level. With the West being the huge leaders the past few years with LSU, Alabama, Auburn, and add Arkansas, that makes the West a gauntlet.

    The East is really coming on after the West’s domination the past few years, with Georgia doing really well, Florida rebuilding and likely due a very good season next year, South Carolina can compete with anyone if they can avoid injuries to major personnel, and the rest of the East coming on next season and beyond, Mizzou really has a great challenge for the first years and beyond.

  2. bighead82 says: Dec 26, 2011 9:07 PM

    I love that people continue to underestimate Mizzou.

  3. missouriman4ever says: Dec 26, 2011 9:16 PM

    MIZZOU will be just fine in the sec. Just because they are in the midwest people overlook them. The sec east isn’t a cakewalk, but im a happy fan seeing as we don’t have to go through what A&M will in the sec west. Glad to see a good showing today from MIZZOU. Good way to get motivated for next year

  4. kcrobert10 says: Dec 26, 2011 9:41 PM

    Great win for our tigers thanks for the southern hospitality other than a little rain this has been a nice bowl trip for us. Can’t wait to get into the sec east I personally think we will do well next yr. Atleast we will no longer get slighted and treated like were the sisters of the poor there. It was really nice to talk to Louisiana folks and here there excitement for our program joining the conference. It was refreshing considering any time u talk to those Oklahoma and Texas folks u get nothing be negativity. By the way I know football is prority 1 in this conference but there getting one hell of a basketball team out of this university too. M-i-z-z-o-u….

  5. thecrazyasianinseccountry says: Dec 27, 2011 4:09 AM

    This is very true, the SEC will get a huge basketball lift with the addition of Mizzu. If Mizzu were an SEC team right now, we would have three teams in the top ten joining Kentucky and Florida. Not bad for a football conference… If only LSU can sign another Shaq and Swift we would be there also. Either way I’m happy with LSU just having the opportunity to play for the National Championship and the Saints a strong contender to make the SuperBowl. What more can a Crazy Cajun Asian ask for in Louisiana ???

  6. jrspike says: Dec 27, 2011 5:06 AM

    Bring them on. I don’t see an 0-8 next year in SEC from the Tigers of MIZZOU?

  7. stonymark says: Dec 27, 2011 9:19 AM

    Nice win, Mizzou! Truman needs one of those “C’mon Man!” for that trophy mishap. Even if the Tigers were 0-8 next year breaking into SEC action, I’m glad they made the move. The Big 12 is quickly becoming a Conference USA- Big East, “we’ll take anybody” league.

  8. florida727 says: Dec 27, 2011 9:47 AM

    Great way to cap off the year, Mizzou. Welcome to the SEC. Best of luck next year. I expect you guys to be competitive right away. Too good a program not to be.

  9. kansas525 says: Dec 27, 2011 10:00 AM

    Gee, I am really sure the SEC will totally dominate, Bull Crap. The SEC had maybe 3 good teams this year. Good records, because they played the other SEC teams. The week to week gamut Missouri faced in the Big 12 will make next year’s schedule of tough team, 2 or 3 patsies, tough team, rest again, tough team seem like a vacation. At one time or another this year at least 5 of the Big 12 (actually 10 teams )quarterbacks were considered Heisman potential. The SEC? Oh yeah, 1 running back and 1 defensive back. If Missouri had played Alabama’s schedule they would have been 10 -2 at worst.

    If the coaches and sportswriters had any guts, we might have seen how good the SEC defenses really are. I would have loved to seen LSU play OK St and Alabama play Stanford, or vice versa. Either way there would have been a benchmark instead of speculation.

  10. gamustangdude says: Dec 27, 2011 11:55 AM


    You’re funny. The Big-12 was extremely overrated and only had 1 Good team which was suspect in Oklahoma State. That Iowa State loss makes them very suspect. Stanford will dominate Ok State, and the Big-12 will be brought back to reality. 3 good teams in the SEC? Nice Try, If UGA, South Carolina, Arkansas, LSU, and Alabama played Ok State’s schedule, they would boast at least 11 wins each. Too bad we won’t get to see the SEC versus Big 12 matchups like we all want to see. However I think Arkansas vs. Kansas State should give us a good look at where the two conferences stand. Bottom Line, SEC is a defensive conference, the Big-12 is an Offensive conference. Mizzou might compete next year, or they could get shell-shocked it all depends on how they adjust playing top caliber defenses BACK to BACK, not just once in a Bowl Game.

    I hope they come prepared, the SEC isn’t the Big 12. It took Mizzou over 10 years to reach a Big-12 title, don’t expect them to reach an SEC Title anytime soon.

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