Analysis: Tigers better team than at same point last year -

Analysis: Tigers better team than at same point last year

We are hours away from the opening of the conference play for what may be the most anticipated football season in Missouri Tigers history.

The Black and Gold faithful has been talking about a national championship since the start of the season, and the team hasn't disappointed thus far, winning its first four games in handy fashion.

But the Tigers also have yet to play a true road game, and besides the neutral site game against Illinois to open the season, they haven't played anyone who could even provide them a challenge.

The Tigers on Saturday seek their first win in 30 years in Lincoln, Neb., and no matter the fact that they are heavy favorites, they know that Big Red will come at them with everything it has.

In a sport where one bad game any time all year can mean all too much as far as crushing a team's championship hopes are concerned, the time seemed ripe for a quick perspective check as we hit the Big XII schedule.

For that, we turned to a true diehard Tigers fan: blogger Bill Connelly.

On the experience of watching the Tigers of the Chase Daniel era:

"It's weird watching football on TV. Your standards for offense on a one-to-ten scale are now at a 10. The Missouri offense seems so much more automatic and creative and athletic and fast. Even if we had the Texas Tech-style defense right now, you'd still have to be optimistic about our chances. We still have our weaknesses on defense, but the amount of playmaking potential on this team is ridiculous."

On the comparing this year's team to last year's group that won the Big XII North and the Cotton Bowl:

"The offense is better and the defense is better than it was at this point last year. We went 12-2 last year and 12-0 against teams not named Oklahoma. And they're not on the schedule this year."

On chasing that evasive victory in the Sea of Red at Nebraska:

"My line has been that Nebraska is going to unload everything they have at us. They're all going to play as hard as they can because they were embarrassed last year. But they have to stop Missouri six, or eight or 10 times if they're going to win. Our first two wins against Nebraska in (more than 20) years were 41-24, so we'll go with that. 41-24 sounds about right.

I'm saying all this now, but at 7:45 next Saturday night, when all those old memories come back, it's going to be kind of scary. You have to like our chances."

And perhaps most significantly, on the pressure to win it all:

"I think this year, there is still going to be a feeling of urgency if we lose, that 'crap we just blew our best shot.' As worried as I am that now is the time, still though, I've always dreamed of having a Missouri team this good. Pinkel's built a program -- they have such a belief in what they do, they're so good at coaching what they want players to do, it feels like we've hit a top 15 level. I'm trying to take as much satisfaction in that as possible in watching this program grow block-by-block. I think this program is going to be at a very high level for a long time."

Note: Steven Weinman is a journalism student at the University of Missouri at Columbia.

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