COMMENTARY: Bowl game? Missouri would need to upset Texas A&M

Sunday, November 18, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CST; updated 9:09 p.m. CST, Sunday, November 18, 2012
Missouri quarterback James Franklin walks with teammates after the end of the game against Syracuse on Saturday at Memorial Stadium. Franklin played the first three quarters until he was injured in the fourth.

COLUMBIA — Missouri's inaugural season in the Southeastern Conference is officially a disaster.

The team can still do something meaningful this season, but it won't be at a bowl game. Missouri could possibly still reach a bowl game, but only by beating Texas A&M.

If that happens, the Tigers should be more proud of beating the Aggies than attending something like the BBVA Compass Bowl or the Autozone Liberty Bowl.

But don't count on it.

Quarterback Johnny Manziel and the Aggies have already earned the respect of their new conference by taking down the No. 1-ranked Crimson Tide.

"Johnny Football" has now become a legitimate Heisman contender as a quarterback. James Franklin might not even play next week, depending on his injury.

Even if Franklin plays, what chance does Missouri really have to win?

Heading into the season, the Tigers wanted to think they could compete with the top teams in the Southeastern Conference, but they simply haven't.

The Tigers lack impressive wins. Missouri's most respectable wins were against Arizona State (6-5) and Central Florida (8-3), both unranked teams. That's it. (Tennessee is 4-7, in case you wanted to include that one).

Regardless of how you look at it, Missouri has gone 0-4 against the big dogs of the SEC, and only one of them was close.

James Franklin got hurt and fell apart against Georgia. Then he lost his confidence and hardly gave the Tigers a chance against South Carolina, finishing with just 92 yards passing. With Corbin Berkstresser at quarterback, Missouri didn't even threaten Alabama. And most recently, the Tigers fell short against Florida when Franklin was off target all day.

Missouri's success has coincided with weaker opponents, and Syracuse was one of them.

There is a lot of "If Franklin had been healthy all season..." and "If he had played like this against...", but none of that matters. There's no guarantee Franklin can stay healthy for a season.

The Missouri defense has looked strong at times this season, but it also appears to be falling apart. Even without much injury trouble, the defense allowed Tennessee to gain nearly 400 yards in one half, then left Syracuse's No. 1 receiver, who already had 11 catches, run wide open to score the game-winning touchdown Saturday.

Sheldon Richardson missed Saturday's game with a suspension. Pinkel said the team didn't miss his production.

It's doubtful that Richardson will miss all the losing when he leaves this team.

There's a game left. But it feels like the season is over.

Supervising editor is Greg Bowers.

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DON MERKLE November 18, 2012 | 10:12 a.m.

Loss to Syracuse causes Mizzou to lose out on the Toilet Bowl in
Poopville , Texas.Which is fine with me. As long as Pinkel is coach ,
I don't intend on going to anymore Tiger games. As happens way to
often the Cats 2nd half is where their doom happens. Especially the
4th Qtr. of many games. They have big melt downs in many games for
losses. After a good lead the 1st half thru the 3rd qtr. at times.
This Syracuse game , The Orangemen scored 21 points in the 4th Qtr.
And rolled up over 500 yards in the game. I didn't know "jim Brown"
was still playing at age 70+.!!!donWsox

(Report Comment)
roy willard November 18, 2012 | 12:02 p.m.

I was surprised by the collapse of the defense in the fourth quarter. Someone should have been glued to Lemon. Coach Pinkel tends to blame this year on injuries but,even so, there were too many lapses of effective coaching.

(Report Comment)
frank christian November 18, 2012 | 2:46 p.m.

The coach has taken Tigers to 8 "dinkie" bowls by scheduling 4 patsies every year (even if Iowa U. sues Mizzou for backing out of a firm commitment made before Pinkel arrived, played Arkansas State instead.), then getting past Colorado and Iowa State, made him "bowl eligible". K. State and Nebraska made poor changes in Head Coaches and Pinkel won. They corrected those errors and Pinkel lost.

It appears that his luck has run out. SEC has too many above average teams and Pinkel Must play them.

"Tigers wanted to think they could compete with the top teams in the Southeastern Conference, but they simply haven't."

(Report Comment)
Ray Brown November 18, 2012 | 10:35 p.m.

Come on folks...if it was so easy, we'd all be high paid coaches & every team would have winning seasons. True Mizzou fans support their Tigers. The players are young some maturity and serve as good adult role models.

(Report Comment)

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