Missouri goes to Georgia for year's first big SEC game - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Hot Reads: Can Mizzou 'tramp around the columns' at Georgia?

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Aaron Murray and his record-setting arm invite the worst pass defense in the SEC into Athens on Saturday. (Source: Steven Colquitt/ Georgia Athletics) Aaron Murray and his record-setting arm invite the worst pass defense in the SEC into Athens on Saturday. (Source: Steven Colquitt/ Georgia Athletics)
James Franklin, lacking his trusty backfield mate Henry Josey, couldn't get Missouri past the Bulldogs last season. But so far this season, everything has been smooth for the Tigers. (Source: Missouri Athletics) James Franklin, lacking his trusty backfield mate Henry Josey, couldn't get Missouri past the Bulldogs last season. But so far this season, everything has been smooth for the Tigers. (Source: Missouri Athletics)
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(RNN) – Stand up and cheer, Missouri fans. For the first time this season, Hot Reads is featuring your Tigers.

We hope you like the reference to your fight song in the headline. It's catchy, really, a reminder to make lemonade out of lemons - or in this case, a ridiculously huge fire.

But before we get down to it, it's time for a new feature called "Ask a Midwesterner." You see, Mizzou is becoming somewhat relevant in its second season in college football's most powerful league, but many people in traditional SEC cities may not know much about that part of the country.

Let's not forget that Missouri borders eight states, including three with SEC schools. This is a unifying educational exercise, that's what this is.

Today's Midwesterner is Blake Rosen, a lady from St. Louis who is admittedly not a very big sports fan. Perfect.

Hot Reads: "Blake, let's get right to the point. How do you guys feel about guns?"

Blake Rosen: We like them as much as people in the South do. We were the murder capital of the world the year the Cardinals won the World Series (2006). We had T-shirts that said "Beating Detroit in Baseball and in Crime." When push comes to shove, my guy friends go hunting as much as anyone from the South does.

HR: Homicide and baseball - that's a lovely image. So, are Midwesterners as die-hard about sports as Southerners?

BR: There are definitely die-hard Missouri fans regardless of the conference or records or whatever mischief Gary Pinkel is getting into (Writer's note: Pinkel was arrested for DWI 10 days after it was announced the team was joining the SEC. That was likely a coincidence. Maybe.).

Now that they're in the SEC, I think the team has become an even bigger part of culture than it has been. But if you're in a bar and the Cardinals game is on the same time as Missouri, I'm pretty sure the channel will be on the Cardinals.

HR: Well, of course, they're the Cardinals. By the way, shout out to Yadier Molina for carrying the Hot Reads fantasy baseball team. Finally, Blake, Southerners have unmistakable accents. What makes the Midwestern accent unique?

BR: We like to put "R" in our words a lot where it doesn't belong. Like, wa(r)shing machine and farty (40). There's a famous highway running through Missouri, Route Farty Far (44). That's the biggest thing.

HR: And really, that's all that matters. Thanks for your time, Blake. And remember, kiddos, never eat Mexican food while driving through Missouri.

SEC vs. SEC

No. 25 Missouri at No. 7 Georgia, 12 p.m. ET Saturday

We promise to say nice things about the Tigers, unlike What We Learned, which manages to take weekly shots at that fine football team.

Hot Reads doesn't think Mizzou is going to get run out of Athens on Saturday, but we're probably wrong. Hey, we promised to be nice, but we're not going to lie for the sake of your feelings.

The Tigers' offense is legit. With one of the top tailbacks in the country (Henry Josey) sidelined all last year and one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the country (James Franklin) playing through injuries, they still managed five wins.

They're healthy now and rolling.

Mizzou's defense is also scary, and by scary I mean you should trust it like you trust a 350-pound former wrestler to babysit your children. The Tigers have monsters in the front seven, but that secondary... dead last among SEC teams in passing defense.

The only Mizzou opponent that has not thrown for more yards this season is Murray State, and that's because, well, it's Murray State.

Hey, Mr. Aaron Murray (coincidence?), how do you feel about adding to your all-time SEC passing yards record against that defense? No comment? We understand. You let your play do the talking like a silent warrior type and what not.

Funny thing, though, Georgia is in the exact same situation - great offense, unreliable defense. The Bulldogs' inability to stop people makes scoring 40 points a game necessary, so maybe we should give the defense equal credit for the Bulldogs' explosive offense. No? Well, we tried.

Georgia's roster right now is a list of walking wounded, but they still have enough firepower to win Saturday.

This game will probably look more like a shootout than a blowout, and we already know the Dawgs' track record in those types of contests this year

No. 17 Florida at No. 10 LSU, 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday

Matt Jones and Mack Brown vs. a defense that has allowed more than 900 rushing yards (no other team with at least two SEC wins has allowed more than 812).

Zach Mettenberger and Odell Beckham Jr. vs. a defense that has allowed the fourth-fewest points in the country.

As they might say in the bayou, "Dis gon' be fun, y'all."

Florida has another statistical key in its back pocket that people overlook - red zone defense. Opponents score inside the 20-yard line two thirds of the time, again placing the Gators among the top 10 teams in the country.

Perhaps you saw the way they shut down what some people think is a pretty decent rushing attack at Arkansas last Saturday, and that was without defensive tackle Dominique Easley.

However, the Tigers have Mettenberger, who looks like he could help out the Jacksonville Jaguars right now.

If there's ever a case when you can feel comfortable trusting talent over numbers, it's when there's a 6'5" prototype who can throw through, over and around any defense put in front of him.

There's life outside the SEC?

No. 2 Oregon at No. 16 Washington, 4 p.m. ET Saturday

Want to know how well the 2013 version of Oregon would do against an SEC team.

Well, you're not going to get any sort of idea from this game. But, this could be the first team this year to hold the Ducks to fewer than 55 points.

The Huskies can run the ball every bit as well, and their defense has held up to much more stout competition than anything Oregon has seen all year. Yes, that includes the mighty Tennessee Volunteers.

That, of course, was a joke. Pay attention, people.

Hot Reads got it wrong last week by saying that Maryland had a chance against Florida State. Way, waaaay wrong. This is a shot at restoring confidence in all 27 of this column's faithful readers.

Another angry email. Shoot! Make that 26.

Stat of the Week

10: This is the 10th consecutive year LSU and Florida have played each other while both were ranked in the top 25.

Copyright 2013 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

  • WAFB Online Poll

  • What SEC team has the best chance of winning on the road Saturday?

  • Thank you for participating in our poll. Here are the results so far:

    Florida (At LSU)
    3%
    5 votes
    Missouri (at Georgia)
    23%
    40 votes
    South Carolina at (Arkansas)
    24%
    41 votes
    Texas A&M (at Ole Miss)
    50%
    87 votes
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