September 14, 2007

Preview and prediction: Mizzou vs W. Michigan

Each week, breaks down the Tigers' upcoming game from every angle. But on Friday, we get you set for kickoff. Here is the exclusive breakdown of Saturday's home opener against Western Michigan:

Missouri Keys to the Game

Mostly, show up in the third quarter. The Tigers have been great for the first two and then fallen asleep. If Missouri gets up big, if they let the Broncos back in, it is officially time to worry and worry a bunch. In addition, the Tigers have to realize they aren't just going to throw their helmets out there and win this one in a romp. Clearly, the Tigers are the better team, but Western Michigan is good enough to win if things go well. About the only way the Broncos can pull this one off is to get a bundle of turnovers. The Tigers just need to hold on to the ball.

Western Michigan Keys to the Game

The Broncos have to start well. They are three touchdown underdogs and if they're down four touchdowns at half, this one is over (I think). They simply don't have the athletes the first two teams the Tigers played had. On that note, the Broncos have to empty the playbook. They aren't going to line up and take down the Tigers man on man. But Bill Cubit has a million tricks up his sleeve and he might want to use most of them. Finally, somehow, some way, Western Michigan has to run the ball. They aren't winning a shootout with the Tigers.

The Wild Card

It has got to be Simmons. He is the one player capable of winning this game for Western Michigan. Can you say Hank Baskett?

Final Analysis

This year's MAC is not the MAC of the last few years, in my opinion. The conference is decent, but I don't think it has a team capable of lining up with the big boys on a consistent basis. Western Michigan was pretty well beaten up by an Indiana team that isn't as good as the Tigers are last week. Daniel is going to have a monster game and the Tigers are finally (again, I think) going to be able to breathe easy in the fourth quarter.

Prediction: Missouri 48, Western Michigan 24

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