Missouri Tigers 2023 College Football Preview
July 31, 2023
Record – 6-7
ATS – 7-6
The Tigers continued their MILQUETOAST existence under the guiding hand of Eli Drinkwitz as they finished the regular season with a .500 record for the third consecutive season. They picked up a pair of quality wins along the way (at South Cackalacky, WOO PIG) but failed to make much of an impression in the SEC East. Missouri dropped the Gaspirilla Bowl to Wake Forest (L 27-17) to end the year.
Missouri Tigers 2023 Outlook
Missouri struggled on offense last season and wasted a strong performance from the defense. They ranked #10 in the SEC in scoring offense (24.8 PPG) and #11 in total offense (341 YPG). Starting QB Brady Cook had a solid season LY (65%, 14-7 TD to INT, 585 rush, 6 TD) and should be ready to go after missing the spring work (shoulder). The 1-2 punch at RB is back for duty (Schrader, Peat) and those two men combined for over 1,100 yards and 11 TDs on the ground in 2022. The Tigers lose their top-two options at WR and need someone to replace the talent Dominic Lovett (846, 3 TD). Perhaps highly-recruited specimen Luther Burden can take a big step forward is his development (48-375, 6 TD) or maybe Oklahoma transfer Theo Wease can be a difference-maker? The offensive line looks rock solid as they bring back three starters and boast over 130 career starts amongst the group. This doesn’t have the look of a dynamic offense but we expect them to make moderate improvement in 2023.
The Tigers were impressive a season ago, particularly vs the run (126 YPG, #3 SEC) and in the PENETRATION department (35 sacks, T3 SEC). Eight starters are retained on defense including their top-four tacklers but they’ll be without their top-three sack producers from 2022. The DL loses a small handful of talented DEs and it’ll be interesting to see how they hold up at the point of attack and how much havoc they can create compared to LY. The back-seven is in great shape as they return almost every starter including LB Ty’Ron Harper (2nd Team SEC, 14 TFL), #1 tackler safety Jaylon Carlies, and an excellent CB tandem (Rakestraw, Abrams-Draine) who combined for an impossible 26 (!) PBU in 2022.
Things look pretty good on special teams with the return of their excellent PK Harrison Mevis who can hit from DOWNTOWN (22-28 FG LY) and PR Luther Burden (12.6, TD). Aussie punter Riley Williams takes over the punting duties.
Overall – The set of non-conference assignments is a bit tricky as they battle the Big 12 Champions from Kansas St (H) and Memphis (N). The good news is that they don’t play a true road game until Sept 30 (Vanderbilt) and they miss ROLL TIDE from the West division. The November schedule is nasty as they face Georgia (A), Tennessee (H), and Florida (H) in consecutive weeks.
Potential ATS Trouble Spot – at Arkansas (Nov 24)
This looks like a letdown spot as they’ll tangle with WOO PIG immediately after the aforementioned brutal three-game stretch vs SEC East heavyweights.
Season Win Total
Market consensus July 31
Over 6.5 +110
Under 6.5 -130
17 of our 21 models have the Tigers finishing with precisely six or seven wins. If you can find a ‘6’ out there we’d recommend a small taste of the ‘over’.
The Tigers are a spiffy 5-2 ATS as a home dog under HC Drinkwitz and Missouri will have a small handful of opportunities in that point spread role this year (Vols, Gators, and a few more).
QB Brady Cook recently bagged a hole-in-one on the links so there’s no doubt he’s healthy and ready to go for the season **.
** 137 yards with a pitching wedge, tickling breeze from the southeast. STAN THE CADDY recommended a slight fade into a tight pin location.
It’s been difficult to handicap these guys recently but this looks like their best chance to do a bit of damage in a number of years. The offense won’t be explosive but it has the chance to be very efficient. The defense could be really good if the defensive line doesn’t take a notable step backwards and that’s probably the key to how the season goes. We’ll call for six or seven wins and believe there’s more upside than downside with this squad.