As some of you may remember, we as a staff at Maroon and White Nation decided to make predictions of who would rank where in the divisional standings. Now as you can see in this article, there was one first-place vote for Mizzou. I was the owner of that first place vote. I felt confident that the Missouri Tigers would repeat as Eastern Division Champions before the season, because of the perceived weakness of the rest of the division. Then the season started, and the Eastern Division became a crap-shoot. Basically, the East became a battle of who could be less bad that week.
Every week, we at Maroon and White Nation make our picks on who will win each game in the SEC. Mizzou’s prospects were good at the beginning of the year. They were supposed to have an easy ride to the South Carolina game and should go in to Columbia 4-0. Indiana had other thoughts, as they defeated the Missouri Tigers 31-27 at home! That loss plummeted the Tigers in the polls, and I thought my early predictions of the SEC East were ruined at that point. The next week, they squeaked out a win in Columbia (21-20) against a then-ranked #13 South Carolina squad. Next was a visit from #13 Georgia, and boy did the Georgia team play angry that night. 34-0 ended up being the final score, but did it ever feel like it should have been a wider margin. After that loss by Mizzou, I was pretty sure that the East would go to Georgia, well that was before the Gurley injuries and the subsequent collapse by the Georgia squad.
Following the Georgia loss, I wasn’t sure anymore of this Mizzou squad and whether it could play in the big games. They had easy matchups the next three weeks against Florida, Vanderbilt, and Kentucky (wasn’t so easy at that point). Then they traveled down to College Station and Kyle Field to face off against the #24 Aggies. They ended up winning that game 34-27, and disposed of Tennessee 29-21 in Knoxville. Then came the moment of truth for me. Do I pick Mizzou against a red-hot Arkansas squad and stay true to my East pick, or do I pick Arkansas and give Georgia the SEC East even though I picked Mizzou to wear the East before the season. I decided to go with the hot team in Arkansas, which I felt fairly confident in. Yes, I betrayed my preseason pick of Mizzou, but Arkansas was red hot and I was competing for the M&WN pick’em challenge (I was in second by 1 win). The game came and went, Arkansas lost the game 21-14 under injured Brandon Allen, and I ended up third in the M&WN picks standings. Do I feel bad for betraying my SEC East pick in Mizzou? Yeah, and it’s not just because I lost the pick ’em challenge. I tried to be as unbiased as possible in my preseason picks, and I felt that I did a fairly good job. I guess I should have stuck with them.