Missouri finished with a 6-6 regular season record last year before dropping its bowl game 27-17 to Wake Forest. Sportsbooks seem to expect a similar result this season. FanDuel Sportsbook currently gives Missouri a 6.5-win total juiced to -128 on the under. However, it also comes in with +10000 odds to win the SEC. Let’s dive into Missouri football predictions, futures, win total prediction and roster overview to find out.
Missouri Football Predictions, Futures & Roster Overview
Eliah Drinkwitz returns for his fourth season as Missouri head coach. He is 17-19 with Missouri and has yet to eclipse six wins in a season. Drinkwitz had to give up play-calling midway through last season. This year, he hired Kirby Moore as offensive coordinator. Moore previously coached at Fresno State in some capacity from 2017 to 2022. He coordinated the pass game in 2020 and 2021 before taking on full offensive coordinator responsibilities in 2022. Blake Baker returns for his second season as defensive coordinator after a strong 2022.
Missouri Football Offense
Quarterback Brady Cook returns for Missouri after starting in 2022. He completed 249 of 388 passes (64.2%) for 2,748 yards (7.1 yards per attempt), 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions. While average as a passer, Cook excelled on the ground. He accounted for 585 rushing yards last year on 139 carries (4.2 yards per carry). His 21.1% pressure-to-sack ratio was middle of the pack in the SEC, meaning he was not adding many negative plays. Cook finished as the SEC’s ninth-highest-graded passer. With all of that said, Cook missed the spring, and Missouri did bring in Jake Garcia from Miami this offseason to compete for the job. Garcia completed 59.1% of his 115 passes last year for 803 yards (7.0 yards per attempt), five touchdowns and four interceptions. He is not mobile whatsoever, so Cook has an edge there. Garcia only saw the field last year due to a Tyler Van Dyke injury, but he will now hope to compete with Cook for more playing time. Allegedly, Sam Horn is also battling. Horn did not record any passing stats last year aside from two incompletions. However, he was a 4-star recruit in last year’s class and ranked as the 91st overall prospect. Horn is still playing baseball, making him a tricky evaluation at this point. Four-star freshman Gabarri Johnson is also on the roster.
Missouri returns its top rusher in Cody Schrader after he carried the ball 170 times for 745 yards and nine touchdowns in 2022. He also caught 18 passes for another 134 yards, dropping three passes along the way. He averaged 2.88 yards after contact and forced a missed tackle on 17.1% of his rushes. Behind him, Missouri also returns Nathaniel Peat and Tavorus Jones. Brady Cook finished as the second-leading rusher, but Peat still carried 100 times for 438 yards. Most of that came early in the season, before Missouri fully committed to Schrader. However, the 5-foot-10, 206 pound back also caught 10 passes for 66 yards, with only one drop. Peat averaged 3.12 yards after contact and forced a missed tackle on 34% of his attempts. He was more efficient than Schrader, making his usage interesting. Jones should provide pure depth after carrying just seven times last year.
Unfortunately, Missouri lost its top receiver Dominic Lovett to Georgia in the transfer portal. Its second-leading receiver, Barrett Banister also departed via graduation. Its third leading receiver, Luther Burden, returns after catching 45 passes for 375 yards. Burden also rushed 18 times for 88 yards in an effort to get the ball in his hands. He came into the Missouri program as a 5-star freshman in 2022 and the 14th overall recruit in that class. Burden is 5-foot-11, 215 pounds and played in the slot 12.9% of the time. His 1.22 yards per route ranked 52nd in the SEC. He did not have the most efficient season, but Missouri cannot afford to sit five stars. The hope is that he makes a big jump in year two. Behind him, Missouri returns fourth-leading receiver Mookie Cooper and seventh-leading receiver Mekhi Miller. Cooper is 5-foot-8, 188 pounds and caught 26 passes for 298 yards last year. He played in the slot 36.5% of the time and his 1.25 yards per route ranked 50th in the SEC last year. Miller is 6-foot-1, 194 pounds and caught nine passes for 140 yards. Despite the returning production, Missouri still hit the transfer portal. Theo Wease came over from Oklahoma and Dannis Jackson transferred in from Ole Miss. Oklahoma benched Wease somewhat last year. He only recorded 19 catches for 378 yards after catching 37 passes for 530 yards in 2021. His 2.00 yards per route still ranked 11th in the Big 12, suggesting the talent remains. He is 6-foot-3, 200 pounds and likely plays the boundary. Jackson is 6-foot-0, 170 pounds and did not see the field for Ole Miss last year. He caught 12 passes for 244 yards in 2021. Missouri also still has Chance Luper on the roster. He did not play last year, but he caught 22 passes for 208 yards and a touchdown in 2021. The only other name to mention is 4-star freshman Joshua Manning, who comes in as the 267rd overall player in this class.
Missouri does return its top tight end in Tyler Stephens. However, he only played 382 or 916 offensive snaps. Not only did Missouri use multiple tight ends, but it often played without one altogether. Fresno State also played without a tight end for a portion of its snaps, which could be the case here. Stephens is 6-foot-6, 248 pounds and blocked on 64.7% of his snaps. As a receiver, he caught five passes for 54 yards. The backup this year should be Ryan Hoerstkamp with Kibet Chepyator gone. Missouri also recruited 4-star freshman Brett Norfleet, who comes in as the 234th player in this class.
Missouri returns most of its starting offensive line from 2022. However, it does lose guard Connor Wood. Fortunately, left tackle Javon Foster returns after an elite 2022 season. Foster has two years of starting experience and allowed just 16 quarterback pressures last year. Xavier Delgado projects to play left guard after holding that position for most of last year. He now has three seasons with at least 412 snaps. It looks like Bence Polgar should start this season after he was ruled ineligible last year. Polgar originally transferred in from Buffalo. His absence paved the way for Connor Tollison at center last year, which was not pretty. At the very least Tollison played 827 snaps and now should provide quality depth. Right guard should be Armand Membou, who played a few games at right tackle last year. He does give the offensive line versatility here with his experience at tackle. Mitchell Walters also returns after playing 413 snaps last year. Most of those came at right guard, so his experience should help here. With that said, it seems like most expect Missouri to rely on transfers to some degree on the offensive line. Marcellus Johnson comes over from Eastern Michigan and Cam’Ron Johnson comes in from Houston. Marcellus Johnson has three full years of starting experience, allowing just 54 quarterback pressures in that span. Cam’Ron Johnson has two years of interior starting experience, and he allowed just 13 pressures last year. Both will contend with a sizable jump to the SEC, but both should play a role to some degree here. This group should take a step forward.
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Missouri Football Defense
On defense, Missouri ranked 26th in 2022. This included the 33rd-ranked run defense, 24th-ranked pass rush and 38th-ranked pass coverage. The Tigers did lose their top three edge defenders, but much of the defense remains intact. Additionally, Missouri added six defensive transfers to ease some of its losses.
Missouri lost Isaiah McGuire, Trajan Jeffcoat and D.J. Coleman along the edge. The team returns Johnny Walker Jr. after 128 snaps last year. However, the Tigers should rely heavily on three transfers. Arizona State transfer Joe Moore played 549 snaps and generated 31 quarterback pressures last year. Jackson State edge/linebacker hybrid Nyles Gaddy also comes over with two years of starting experience. Finally, Missouri added Northwestern edge transfer Austin Firestone to provide some depth.
The interior of the defensive line looks much stronger with Darius Robinson and Kristian Williams both returning over 400 snaps. Robinson generated 19 quarterback pressures. The teams third and fourth defensive tackles Jayden Jernigan and Realus George Jr. both return as well. Jernigan provides the versatility to potentially play edge too, ease the losses at that position.
At linebacker, both Ty’Ron Hopper and Chad Bailey return after 763 snaps and 581 snaps. Both linebackers played well in coverage, as well as against the run. Hopper only allowed 165 yards and Bailey allowed 87 into his coverage. The team also added Florida State transfer Sidney Williams to provide depth after playing 246 snaps in 2021.
The secondary could be the biggest strength of this team after losing only Martez Manuel. Both corners in Kris Abrams-Draine and Ennis Rakestraw return after 700+ snaps. The pair were elite in coverage, allowing under 900 yards as a pair. At safety, both Joseph Charleston and Jaylon Carlies return over 650 snaps. This pairing also ceded fewer than 650 yards into their coverage. At nickel Daylan Carnell played 380 snaps due to injury, but this gives Missouri five defenders with legitimate starting experience.
If one takes a step back or suffers an injury, Missouri also added a pair of transfers in Marcus Clarke from Miami and Tre’Vez Johnson from Florida. Clarke played 265 snaps in 2021 and Johnson played at least 250 snaps in each of the last three years. Rotational corner Dreyden Norwood returns another 312 snaps from the 2020 Missouri roster. This Tigers secondary looks like one of the deepest in the entire conference.
Missouri Football Schedule
As far as SEC East schedules go, this one looks middle of the road. Missouri faces South Dakota, Middle Tennessee State, Kansas State and Memphis in non-conference. It crosses over against LSU and Arkansas from the SEC West. As for its own division, Missouri travels to Georgia, but it will face Tennessee at home. It should be clear favorites in five or six games this year, but any one of those opponents could trip them up.
Missouri Football Win Total Prediction: This is not the easiest schedule in the country. Missouri still comes in tied for last at +10000 odds to win the conference. Its 6.5-win total hinges on how the Tigers perform in non-conference and the weaker end of the SEC. While under 6.5 wins comes in juiced at -128, that looks like the sharpest bet for those looking at Missouri right now.