When the Missouri Tigers joined the SEC in 2012, they appeared to be a bit overmatched following their realignment. They went just 2-6 in conference play last season and were overlooked by many in the 2013 conference title race. But after holding strong against the Texas A&M Aggies on Saturday night at home, the Tigers clinched the SEC East division title, punching their ticket to Atlanta for the conference title game and officially arrived as a legitimate member of the SEC.
Gary Pinkel has turned his team around in 2013 and showcased the talent that Mizzou has up and down the roster. A healthy Tigers team has helped them play up to their potential and rise to No. 5 in the nation coming into the weekend. Securing their first division title to play for the SEC title is a huge step for the program and announces to the rest of the SEC that Missouri is not to be taken lightly any longer. For all the doubters that said Missouri wasn’t “worthy” of joining the conference last season are eating crow as the Tigers are now one win away from being crowned the top team in college football’s best conference.
Next up for the Tigers is the Auburn Tigers in Atlanta with a guaranteed trip to the BCS at stake. The winner will have the inside track to getting into the BCS National Championship in the event that the Ohio State Buckeyes or Florida State Seminoles slip up in their respective conference title games next week as the nation’s top one-loss team in the BCS standings.
But no matter what happens next week, Missouri has accomplished legitimacy in the SEC from here on out. They have shown themselves to be capable of competing with the best conference in college football and will be perennial contenders going forward.