The 2012 college football season is a week away and as it draws nearer, Rant Sports will preview every SEC team in its By the Numbers series. In the series, noteworthy statistics will be analyzed and their impact on the 2012 squad described. This edition features the Missouri Tigers.
3: The number of teams in the top 1o that Missouri will face this year. The Missouri Tigers could not ask for a rougher introduction to the SEC than facing SEC stalwarts Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. The Alabama and Georgia match-ups occur in Missouri while South Carolina is a road game. The Tigers have a chance to contend this season but those three schools face a daunting challenge to a school that has never played in the SEC.
9: The ranking of the Missouri Tigers ground game in 2011 out of all the FBS schools. The Tigers averaged 244 yards per game last year in Gary Pinkel‘s spread offense. Last year’s leading running back, Henry Josey, will not play this year after undergoing two knee surgeries over the summer. However, Kendial Lawrence is once again healthy and should provide strong contributions to the Missouri rushing attack. The Tigers quarterback, James Franklin, should also not be overlooked. Franklin is a true spread quarterback and is a dangerous threat when on the run.
981: Number of yards rushing by quarterback James Franklin. The SEC does not possess a true dual-threat quarterback like Franklin and that will work in the favor of the Missouri Tigers. How SEC defenses will defend Franklin will be interesting to see as the season develops. Franklin put up explosive numbers in his first year as starter, so it is not outrageous to expect some growth in his numbers but the true question is will his body hold up to taking hits by SEC-caliber defenses.
252: Number of passing yards a game the Tigers allowed last season. That number was good enough for a fifth place finish in the offense-minded Big 12 but can the Missouri Tigers win ballgames in the Southeastern Conference with those numbers? The SEC’s worst passing defense last year belonged to the Auburn Tigers, who allowed an average of 219 yards per game through the air. That is 33 yards less than the Tigers gave up to their Big 12 competition. Needless to say, Missouri will need to learn to play defense in order to contend in the SEC.
4.47: The 40 yard dash time of star wide receiver recruit Dorial Green-Beckham. The wide receiver out of Springfield was seen by many to be the top receiver in last year’s recruiting class and will start for the Tigers from day one. At 6-foot-6, 220 pounds as an incoming freshman, DGB is already a mismatch for opposing cornerbacks. His development in his first season as a Missouri Tiger will play a role in how the team fares as a whole.
Chris Lionetti covers the Southeastern Conference as a College Football Writer for Rant Sports
Follow him on twitter at: @ChrisLionetti