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Missouri Tigers 2008 College Football Team Preview

Jul 3, 2008
Missouri is coming off a 12-2 season in which they lost both meetings to Oklahoma. The Big 12 title game loss to the Sooners ruined Missouri's chance to play in the national title game. The Tigers did rebound to beat Arkansas, 38-7, in the Cotton Bowl. Missouri should once again have a shot to play for the National Championship.

It all starts with senior quarterback Chase Daniel. Daniel, fourth in Heisman Trophy voting last season, threw for 4,306 yards and 33 touchdowns in 2007. Under Daniel's direction, the Tigers scored at least 36 points in their 12 wins and they reached the 40-point mark eight times.

Running back Tony Temple and his back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons are gone. The rushing duties will likely be handled by senior Jimmy Jackson and sophomore Derrick Washington. Washington played in 12 games as a true freshman and displayed big-play potential. Jackson has appeared in 38 collegiate games, tallying 636 yards and 10 touchdowns.

The good news for Missouri and Daniel is that six of the team's top eight receivers from last season are back for 2008. That includes All-American sophomore Jeremy Macklin, who set the NCAA single-season freshman record for all-purpose yards (2,776). Experienced starters Tommy Saunders and Danario Alexander also return at the receiver position. Senior tight end Chase Coffman will be in uncharted waters, as this will be the first season in which he does not have to split time with All-American Martin Rucker.

On the offensive line, two four-year starters and two key reserves have graduated. The strength of this unit is on the right side, where tackle Colin Brown and guard Kurtis Gregory return.

Missouri's defense improved as the season progressed in 2007. They return nine starters, so continued improvement is expected. Senior ends Tommy Chavis and Stryker Sulak both return after combining for 10.5 sacks and 18 tackles for a loss last season. The Tigers also welcome back senior tackle Ziggy Hood.

Junior linebacker Sean Weatherspoon returns after an impressive 2007. Weatherspoon was named to the All-Big 12 team last season after he led the Mizzou defense with 130 tackles in what was his first season as a starter. Senior middle linebacker Brock Christopher also returns. Christopher is coming off a season in which he made a career-best 106 tackles.

The Tigers have five players returning with starting experience in the secondary. This group is led by All-America free safety William Moore. Moore, tied for most interceptions in the nation last season with eight, is expected back for the start of the season after sitting out all spring while recovering from shoulder surgery.

Senior kicker Jeff Wolfert has been amazing. Wolfert has made 151-of-157 kicks (field goals and extra points combined) in his career. Wolfert has a streak of 64 consecutive kicks made heading into this season. Punting is a question mark with Adam Crossett gone. Maclin returned two punts and one kickoff for touchdowns last season, so the return game should again be solid.

With a ton of playmakers on offense and much experience on defense, the Tigers should find themselves competing for the Big 12 Championship and a BCS bowl. They open the season against Illinois, end the season against Kansas and have Texas looming in between. But if this team can avoid injuries to their top players, then a National title shot is not out of the realm of possibility.
About the Author
Expert sports handicapper Dwayne Bryant is the owner of Bullseye Sports Handicapping Service. Dwayne has enjoyed great handicapping success for over 20 years, as is evident by his incredibly large client base. His Best Bets are the stuff of legends. Dwayne gives daily free sports handicapping picks, including free NCAA football picks , on the website.
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