Man, I just finally took a breath. That was one of the craziest weekends of college football in a long time.
Remember all of that hoopla about the Southeastern Conference having eight teams in the top 25? Well five of them lost this weekend, three of them to unranked opponents.
In the middle of all of it is Missouri, once again proving everyone, including myself, wrong and showing the world just what it can really do. What it did this weekend was impressive.
The Tigers, once the little team in corner that no one paid attention to, now has a two-game lead in the SEC East and has its sights set on the conference championship game in Atlanta.
By now you know the gist. Missouri “shocked the world” with its Saturday win over Florida, a week after “shocking the world” at Georgia. There’s a lot of “shocking the world” going around, in case you didn’t notice. But the Tigers’ manhandling of Florida has really struck the fear in the rest of the conference and the rest of the country, so much, that Missouri has garnered its first top-5 ranking since 2008.
I’m going to go ahead and say it. This is almost an all time high point for MU sports. Wouldn’t you agree?
Did you not feel it when you walked — perhaps stumbled — through the streets of Columbia over the weekend? If you aren’t feeling the buzz, you’re just not a Tiger. Go home.
Still, Missouri hasn’t accomplished anything yet. Unless you count a few feature stories in Bleacher Report about how “no one in the media gave Mizzou a chance” to accomplish something, then you must open your eyes to the fact that 7-0 doesn’t count for much in the grand scheme of things. And this Tigers team knows it.
Before the season started, players like senior receiver L’Damian Washington told the media the goal was 11 wins. They were laughed at. Now, the goal is an even taller order: an SEC championship appearance.
The Tigers still have work to do. And they have their work cut out for them. This isn’t the Big 12 North; you’re not out of the woods after just a couple of big wins. Still, what you’ve seen has to give you confidence as a Tiger fan.
Missouri’s impressive show against a juggernaut Florida team, albeit a crippled one, was certainly nothing to sneeze at. Its defense held Florida to 151 yards of total offense, the lowest by a Gators squad since it was held to 114 in the 1999 SEC championship game. Even kicker Andrew Bagget outscored the Gators, 18-17.
The performance from heir-apparent QB Maty Mauk was, while sometimes rookie-esque, all-in-all outright superb. Almost every offensive player had a role in deconstructing a defense that, even with injuries and a key disqualification early on, still is held in very high regard. If the Tigers didn’t show a repeat of the previous weeks’ successes, they improved upon them in almost every facet.
And now is not the time to let up. Everything that has happened in the first seven games of the season must continue, if not, be even better.
I hate to do this. But I must remind everyone of everything else that has happened in this conference. Ole Miss, who Missouri must play on the road, just upended Louisiana State. Vanderbilt beat Georgia, and Texas A&M lost to Auburn, who I think scored more points in this week’s game than it did all of last season. Most shockingly, Tennessee beat favored South Carolina, the Tigers’ next test.
The point is, anything can happen. Missouri can’t sleep on anyone. Not even Kentucky. It’s time we all let this team concentrate on this tough schedule ahead, and quiet the hype; leave the noise for the football games.
As for the team? It can’t get all caught up in this recent success. It has to keep doing what it has been doing.
Has Mizzou changed the landscape of the SEC? Yep. Are the Tigers for real? You bet. Can we start talking about the c-word? (It’s championships, in case you were wondering.) Well, I don’t like that one bit, so let’s just say we can whisper. Or better yet, think it silently in your head.