Columbia, MO (KMOV) -- If Gary Pinkel and Chase Daniel are saying and believing the same things behind closed doors that they are telling the media, the Missouri Tigers should cruise once again this weekend.
Either the black and gold's coach and quarterback are public relations savvy, or they are master motivators.
The beginning of every week seems to bring the same line of commentary from the Tiger leaders: The opponents are good. Really good.
Pinkel and Daniel talked up the Illinois defensive line and quarterback Juice Williams before and after the season opener in St. Louis. They spoke glowingly last week of the quickness of Nevada's defensive front and the ability of the team from the Left Coast as a whole. They made it sound as though the Tigers were up against top-of-the-line teams and needed every possible second of preparation available to them.
Three weeks into the season, the Tigers have yet to be held below 52 points in a game. They have tied a school record for points in a game and set a new school record for passing yards in a game. They have won their last two games by more than 40 points and have yet to see a game decided by a single-digit margin. Illinois provided a moderate challenge in the opener. Southeast Missouri State and Nevada did no such thing in the two weeks since.
Tigers praise upcoming opponent. Tigers roll through said opponent. Praise continues after the game. That has been the pattern so far.
This week appears no different. Both quarterback and coach praised Buffalo coach and former Nebraska quarterback Turner Gill for the work he has done with the Bulls.
Pinkel began the love-fest in his opening statement: "Turner Gill has done a great job at the University of Buffalo," he said. "He has really got a football team that is well coached and disciplinedHe's making tremendous progress there and he has a very experienced football team. I'm very impressed with their quarterback, the decisions he makes and how he runs the team. Defensively they're a good team, good blitz package, they do a lot of good things. It'll be a challenge."
The quarterbacked echoed his coach and stressed that Gill's defenders are well prepared and know their roles well.
That's all well and good, but once again, it's hard to expect anything other than Missouri proving itself a level or several above the competition. The Bulls hail from the Mid-American Conference and have opened the season with wins over UTEP and Temple sandwiched around a loss in Pittsburgh. The Tigers are presently the only ranked team on their schedule this season.
The Bulls haven't faced a quarterback like Chase Daniel yet. They haven't had the joy of Jeremy Maclin returning their kicks. They haven't seen a team that can roll up the score all day long.
At one in the afternoon in Columbia on Saturday, they'll do just that. If the Tigers' leaders are as good at not looking past opponents as they seem to be, it won't be a pleasant day for the Bulls.
Steve Weinman is a journalism student at Mizzou