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August 25, 2006

2006 revised season prediction

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PowerMizzou.com is now finished with its fourth fall camp. For the last three weeks, no media outlet has provided Tiger fans with more comprehensive coverage of everything that has happened at practice. Now, we turn our attention to the 2006 Tiger season. With that comes our shot at predicting the season before it happens. Just to prove we're not total morons, and to pat ourselves on the back a little bit, check out our 2005 season prediction, which was very, very close to being correct. In fact, we missed just one game all season.

For a frame of reference as to what has changed in the last three weeks, check out our pre-camp predictions.

So, now that you know how smart we are, on to the predictions. One final note: We reserve the right to change these, or to entirely delete them from the site's memory if we prove to be wrong.

September 2nd vs. Murray State

Absolutely nothing changed here. Murray State should be one of the worst teams ever to come to Faurot Field, to put it bluntly. Missouri could sleepwalk through this one and win. They won't.

Final Score: Missouri 52, Murray State 10. Tigers coast in the opener.

September 9th vs. Ole Miss

This is the one we really, really, really want to change. But we won't.

Last season, prior to the New Mexico game, we said if the Tigers stopped Hank Baskett, they would win easy. They didn't stop Hank Baskett.

If the Tigers stop Brent Schaeffer, they win. It won't be easy, but they will win. Unfortunately, we learned our lesson from that game. Schaeffer is going to have his coming out party in Columbia.

The key to stopping a dual threat quarterback is the play of the linebackers. Unfortunately, we didn't see enough in camp from the Tiger linebackers to predict they're going to do that. Ole Miss takes this one when their own all-American linebacker, Patrick Willis forces a fourth-quarter fumble that turns into the game-winning field goal.

Final Score: Ole Miss 27, Missouri 24. Tigers back to break even.

September 16th at New Mexico

The Tigers already owe the Lobos. They'll be twice as feisty after the season's first loss.

Chase Daniel has started hot, but it is Tony Temple that breaks out in this one. Coming back from the game-changing fumble a week before, Temple runs for 144 yards and two scores. Marcus Woods adds one on the ground as well and Jared Perry gets his first collegiate touchdown in the second half.

Final Score: Missouri 38, New Mexico 17. Mizzou moves to 2-1.

September 23rd vs. Ohio

In an ironic twist of fate, Frank Solich returns to the site of the game that might have ultimately cost him his job. The Tigers toppled Solich's final Nebraska team 41-24 in 2003, Mizzou's first win over the Huskers in a quarter century. Solich brings his Bobcats to town with designs on making this Gary Pinkel's last season in Columbia.

The only problem is this Ohio team doesn't have the talent to pull it off.

Temple starts the game with an 80-yard kickoff return that puts the Tiger offense at the Bobcat 12. The next play is a Daniel touchdown to Brad Ekwerekwu and Mizzou doesn't look back.

David Overstreet, who has played sparingly in the first three games of the season due to a lingering knee injury, picks off a pass on Ohio's first possession and walks in for a score. Brian Smith sets a school record with five sacks, giving him nine in the non-conference season, and the Tiger defense pitches the shutout.

Final Score: Missouri 38, Ohio 0. Tigers hit the Big 12 at 3-1.

September 30th vs. Colorado

This is the game that could swing the season. Riding high after the romp against Ohio, Mizzou opens Big 12 play against a Buff squad battered by a brutal non-conference schedule.

Colorado is already on its second starting quarterback of the season and that number increases after this week. Xzavie Jackson, still fighting to gain his starting spot back after a season-opening suspension, hammers the CU flavor of the week in the first quarter, forcing him from the game. True freshman Cody Hawkins is welcomed to Big 12 football by a Tiger defense that picks him off four times, including the first career interception for Domonique Johnson.

Daniel has his breakout game at Mizzou, tossing three touchdowns and throwing for 331 yards.

Final Score: Missouri 38, Colorado 14. Mizzou wins the league opener.

October 7th at Texas Tech

Tech coach Mike Leach had one of his graduate assistants sign up for a seven-day free trial for PowerMizzou.com in August. That just happened to fall on the same day that William Franklin proclaimed the Tigers had the best receiving corps in the Big 12.

Tech's not buying that. Jarrett Hicks and Graham Harrell hook up for three first half touchdowns as the Raiders roll to a big lead at the break. Daniel throws the Tigers back into it with the help of Martin Rucker, who catches 12 balls for 141 yards and a score. But it isn't enough as the Tigers fall in Lubbock.

Final Score: Texas Tech 35, Missouri 24. Tigers slip to 1-1 in the league.

October 14th at Texas A&M

The schedule makers weren't kind to the Tigers with back to back trips to the Lone Star State. Coming off a thumping of Kansas, and with roadies at Oklahoma State and Baylor coming up, the Aggies are looking at a possible four game win streak if they can tame the Tigers.

Daniel loves to play in the Lone Star State and with high school coach Todd Dodge looking on, he lights it up. The sophomore QB will earn Big 12 offensive player of the week honors for this one as he tosses four touchdown passes and has his first career 400-yard game. Franklin, who was shut out against Tech, responds in a big way, catching seven passes for a ridiculous 177 yards and scores twice. Perry adds a TD on an end around and Missouri is never threatened.

Final Score: Missouri 38, Texas A&M 20. Tigers move to 5-2.

October 21st vs. Kansas State

Coming off a tough non-conference slate, Ron Prince handed the reigns at K-State to true freshman Josh Freeman. The Cats stood 2-and-2, but Freeman's debut was a loss in Waco to the Baylor Bears. KSU is coming off a 21-point pounding at the hands of Nebraska and could be headed for the Big 12 cellar for a third straight season.

This time it is the Tigers' turn for bulletin board material. Despite proclaiming, "I don't pay attention to that stuff," Pinkel posts a comment from Freeman in the Tiger locker room the Tuesday before the game.

"I seriously considered Missouri," Freeman says. "But the last time they beat K-State, I still had training wheels on my bike. That was enough for me."

The wheels come off for Freeman in this one. Johnson continues a season that will lead to second-team all Big 12 honors by picking the Cat QB off two times. The breakout star in this one is Connell Davis who has become the second-string tailback due to a rash of injuries. Davis runs for 66 second half yards and two scores as the Tigers win on homecoming.

Final Score: Missouri 31, Kansas State 14. The Tigers are 6-2.

October 28th vs. Oklahoma

Operating without Rhett Bomar, OU hasn't been an offensive juggernaut, but the Sooners have gotten the job done. In only its second true road game (the first a two-touchdown loss to Oregon), Paul Thompson and the Sooner offense again keep the opposition in the game.

Neither offense can get much going with Adrian Peterson and Temple, back from the injured list, account for the first-half scoring after trading five-yard runs.

But the OU defense is simply too much in this one, holding Missouri to just one other touchdown. Thompson isn't all that good, but Peterson runs for 224 and three scores as he kicks the Heisman campaign into high gear.

Final Score: Oklahoma 26, Missouri 14. Tigers fall to 3-2 in the league.

November 4th at Nebraska

The Big 12 North title is on the line with three weeks left in the season. The teams are tied at the top and the winner takes an insurmountable two game lead in the race for KC.

Missouri's defense harasses Zac Taylor throughout the first half, with Stryker Sulak picking up three sacks by the break. But Daniel and the Tiger offense can't get much going either. The Tigers are held to ten first half rushing yards and the game is a 7-7 tie at the break.

Taylor hooks up with Matt Herian on the first possession of the third with the 21-yard touchdown giving the Huskers a 14-7 lead. Daniel, who has been unflappable in his first year as a starter finally hits a road block. He throws three second-half picks and the Tigers can get nothing going in Lincoln.

Final Score: Nebraska 21, Missouri 10. Mizzou is back to 6-4

November 18th at Iowa State

The Cyclones have fallen on hard times thanks to pre-season injuries that decimated the defense. Once thought as a legitimate Big 12 North title contender, ISU is 2-4 in league play coming into this one and fighting simply to ensure a bowl game with a win.

Bret Meyer puts up a good fight, exploiting a Tiger secondary that is without Darnell Terrell due to an injury suffered that week in practice. Todd Blythe ensures his first-team all-conference status with 202 yards receiving and two scores.

But the Tigers have an aerial attack of their own. Rucker and Chase Coffman each catch eight passes, keeping them tied for the team lead with 51 receptions on the season. Coffman scores twice and the teams are tied at 24 at the end of regulation.

Adam Crossett had beaten the Clones in overtime two years running, but he lost the placekicking job after missing a couple extra points in the non-conference season. Something about Tiger kickers and the Clones is infectious, though. After a three and out in overtime, Jeff Wolfert bounces a 46-yard field goal in off the left upright for the W.

Final Score: Missouri 27, Iowa State 24 in overtime. Tigers are 7-4.

November 25th vs. Kansas

Both teams are playing for a ton on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. A win would make the 5-and-6 Jayhawks bowl eligible for the second straight season. Meanwhile, Missouri can lock up second in the North and an eight-win regular season by vanquishing their archrivals.

From the outset, Daniel has the Beaks' number. He throws three first-half touchdowns as Missouri races to a 28-7 lead. At halftime, Mark Mangino calls Nick Reid on his cell phone asking, "What the hell do I do? They got a new quarterback and he's not afraid of us."

Reid calls Charles Gordon, who petitions the NCAA for an extra year of eligibility after being left out of the NFL draft. The NCAA denies his claim and Gordon watches helplessly as Daniel throws three more in the second half.

Normally not one to run up the score, Pinkel changes his ways. Up 35 late in the fourth quarter, he brings his starting offense back off the bench. Temple rips off a 77-yard run that serves as the icing on the cake as the Tigers keep Kansas home in December.

Final Score: Missouri 49, Kansas 17. Tigers finish the regular season 8-4.

January 1st, 2007: Gator Bowl vs. Georgia Tech

With Notre Dame playing in the BCS and the Big East failing to provide an attractive alternative, the Tigers get the call to play in Jacksonville against the Ramblin' Wreck.

It is the biggest game the Tigers have played in quite some time, the first time they have played on New Year's Day in nearly four decades.

The jitters show early as Tech wideout Calvin Johnson brings back memories of Sidney Rice in the first half of the Independence Bowl. Johnson racks up 112 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. But Missouri counters with a 33-yard run from Temple late in the second quarter and draws within 21-10 at the break.

Missouri starts the second half the way they went through most of the season. Rucker catches four passes on a 77-yard drive that ends with a three-yard run from Daniel. After another Johnson score, Temple returns the ensuing kickoff 93 yards for a score.

With Tech up four points in the final five minutes, Brian Smith gets the 40th and final sack of his Tiger career on third down. Forcing a punt, Missouri takes over 82 yards away with just less than five to play.

Daniel marches the Tigers down the field, and Mizzou is perched on the Tech five with a minute 44 seconds to play. Daniel hits Franklin with a fade route and Missouri takes the lead.

But Johnson isn't an all-American for nothing. On the first play from scrimmage, he puts a double move on the Tigers and busts loose for a 54-yard gain. Five plays later, he throws the game-winning pass on a trick play and Tech wins the best bowl game of the year.

Final Score: Georgia Tech 35, Missouri 31. The Tigers end the season 8-and-5.

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