TIGERS REPORT: Florida, Missouri football teams in uncharted territory

Friday, November 2, 2012 | 12:00 p.m. CDT; updated 6:00 p.m. CDT, Friday, November 2, 2012
Missouri tailback Kendial Lawrence runs the ball during the first quarter of Saturday's game against Kentucky at Memorial Stadium. Lawrence scored two touchdowns during the first half.

COLUMBIA — Missouri and Florida both come into Saturday's game in unfamiliar positions.

Missouri, which has struggled to find its way in the Southeastern Conference so far this year, comes in after its first SEC win. Florida, which has spent the past month ranked in the Top 10 in the AP poll, is coming off its first loss of the season.

How the Gators respond to the adversity of their first loss will have a big impact on the outcome of Saturday's game. Last week's loss to Georgia dropped Florida from first place in the SEC East (and No. 2 in the BCS standings) to second place in the division. To win the East, Florida now needs to beat Missouri and needs Georgia to lose at least one of its next two SEC games.

Although Florida struggled on offense against Georgia, Hays Carlton of the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville, Fla., saw a lot of positives from the Gators' defense last week. Florida intercepted Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray three times, including once just yards from the end zone:

Caging the Cats

Several media outlets across the country have poked fun at the Missouri Athletics Department for releasing a commemorative T-shirt after last week's Homecoming win against Kentucky.

Although it was Missouri's first conference win as a member of the SEC, most do not find that beating Kentucky — a 1-7 team this year and a perennial SEC football doormat — is an accomplishment worth celebrating.

Beating Florida, however, would certainly be an accomplishment worth celebrating. The Tigers will have quarterback James Franklin back as the starter Saturday after he missed most of the last three games with a knee injury.

Missouri won its only past meeting with Florida — a 20-18 win in the 1966 Sugar Bowl.

Big game in the SEC West

No. 1 Alabama (8-0) faces No. 5 LSU (7-1) on Saturday in Baton Rouge, La. The winner of that game takes first place in the SEC West division.

A lot of hype surrounds the game because Alabama and LSU played each other in the two biggest games of last season.

Both of those games started with LSU ranked No. 1 and Alabama ranked No. 2. In the first meeting, also played on the first Saturday of November, the Tigers beat the Crimson Tide 9-6 in overtime in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Two months later, the Crimson Tide got revenge in the BCS National Championship Game with a 21-0 win.

Saturday's game starts at 7 p.m. and will be televised on CBS.

Supervising editor is Frank Russell.

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