Missouri can beat Alabama, play for SEC football title: analyst

Coming off an 11-win season, Missouri could be on the cusp of taking a big step in the SEC this football season, one analyst predicts.
Missouri might be on the verge of big things in the 2024 football season looking ahead to the expanded College Football Playoff.
Missouri might be on the verge of big things in the 2024 football season looking ahead to the expanded College Football Playoff. / Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
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Things will look very different in the SEC this season after the addition of Texas and Oklahoma, plus the removal of the East and West divisions, and those changes could end up giving Missouri a chance to build off last year's success and play for the conference championship in 2024.

That's the prediction of college football analyst Joel Klatt, who projects that, thanks to those changes and Missouri's schedule this year, we could see this team play for the league title.

And it could all come down to the Tigers' matchup against Alabama in Week 9.

"They do not play in their conference Georgia, they do not play Texas, they do not play Ole Miss, they do not play LSU, and they do not play Tennessee," Klatt said.

"This is their toughest game," he said of Mizzou's matchup against the Crimson Tide. "If they can beat Alabama, they're going to be in Atlanta. So wrap your minds around that."

Read More: No SEC football team will go undefeated, coach predicts

Missouri took a big step forward last season. After going 17-19 in his first three years, head coach Eliah Drinkwitz put together an 11-2 team a year ago that came within 19 points of being undefeated, and took down Ohio State in the Cotton Bowl.

And though the roster loses personnel like SEC rushing champ Cody Schrader and experience on defense, including coordinator Blake Baker, who took the same job at LSU, it also retains the core of a talented offensive rotation.

Brady Cook returns at quarterback after posting over 3,300 yards passing, and wide receivers Luther Burden and Theo Wease are back, as well.

Missouri has not defeated Alabama since joining the SEC, but the retirement of Nick Saban puts that program in serious transition, and could pave the way for a statement victory.

"If they beat, let's say, A&M in their fifth game, they should be 7-0 when they go to Tuscaloosa," Klatt speculated. "I think they should beat Texas A&M. A win against Bama and they're in a good position to be, what, third in the country? Second in the country at that point at 8-0?"

The second half of Missouri's schedule is tougher than the first: after going to Alabama, the Tigers return home against Oklahoma, then play two road games at South Carolina and Mississippi State before closing at home against Arkansas.

But that game against the Crimson Tide could help define Missouri's season in a big way.

Related: SEC football odds for 2024's biggest games


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James Parks


James Parks is the founder and publisher of College Football HQ. He previously covered football for 247Sports and CBS Interactive. College Football HQ joined the Sports Illustrated Fannation Network in 2022.