Can the Missouri Tigers Reach Bowl Eligibility?

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Oct 17, 2015; Columbia, SC, USA; Vanderbilt Commodores wide receiver Trent Sherfield (10) loses the ball as South Carolina Gamecocks cornerback Al Harris Jr. (7) breaks up the pass during the second half at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

In recent history, Vanderbilt has been the laughing stock of the SEC East. This year, the Commodores have not improved much after head coach James Franklin’s departure for Penn State. Vanderbilt began the year with a shocking loss to Western Kentucky, and they have only won two games since then, beating Middle Tennessee State and Austin Peay. That’s not to sell those two teams short; Middle Tennessee State currently sits at 21st in the nation in total offense.

On offense, Vanderbilt blows Missouri out of the water despite only being 86th in total offense. The Commodores put up 399 yards per game (YPG) and averaged 19 points per game (PPG) . A large part of Vanderbilt’s offense is QB Johnny McCrary; the Commodores went to the air for an average of 242 YPG.

Missouri’s secondary could have a field day with the Commodores, if the game against the Georgia Bulldogs is anything to go by. Missouri picked apart Georgia QB Greyson Lambert, picking him off twice, and the secondary had opportunities to pick him off many more times.

Speaking of defense, Vanderbilt is quite a match for Missouri. Vanderbilt is 21st in total defense, compared to Missouri at 18th. The Commodore defense only gives up 18.5 PPG, but are most vulnerable to the passing game; of the 338 YPG the Vanderbilt defense gives up, 223 were through the air. However, the Missouri Tigers have a defense that only gives up 12.9 PPG, good enough for 6th in the entire FBS.

Even with the statistics, the Missouri offense doesn’t exactly pass the eye test. The defense will have to be well and truly on its game if the Tigers are to walk out of Nashville with a win. And this is probably the easiest game for the Tigers from here on out.

I think the Tigers will pull off the win, however, because the defense will top the mediocre Vanderbilt offense.

Next: Mississippi State