September 10, 2008

Powered Up: The nation's best offense?

Throughout the month of August, I watched Missouri practice about 20 times. And I kept coming back to one thing: "I don't think this offense is going to be as good as it was last year."

Turns out, by being wrong, I was right. This offense isn't as good as last year's. It's better.

Through six quarters, Chase Daniel has thrown for 568 yards and six touchdowns, despite playing what he called "spotty" against Illinois and sitting out more than half the night against SEMO.

So the passing game is fine. But the reason this Tiger offense is better is the running game.
But it's not just Washington that has made the running game better. Despite losing four-year starters at the two most important positions, the offensive line looks better. Elvis Fisher and Tim Barnes have been spectacular in their first two starts. Daniel has been sacked once--on a play where he had two receivers fall down due to injury on the same play. Tough to blame the line for that one.

Missouri scored 38 offensive points against Illinois in about three quarters. And they didn't really play that well offensively. The Tigers came out and scored 35 more with their first team offense in about 20 minutes against SEMO. Overmatched, yes, but that's serious efficiency if you're playing against the Stephens College JV. And they have done that with a grand total of 64 total offensive yards from Jeremy Maclin and with Danario Alexander on the shelf with a knee injury. The scary part is, the Tigers have been really good on offense. But they haven't been nearly as good as they should be five weeks from now.

So I've made (in my opinion) a convincing argument that the Tigers are better than they were last year offensively. The question I'm trying to figure out now is this: Does Missouri have the best offense in college football?

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