Yes, it's too early, but that's the fun of it. Here is PowerMizzou.com's preseason look at what will happen for the 2005 Tigers. Kickoff is now just 28 days away.
September 3rd vs Arkansas State
This one was not a contest last season and there's no reason to expect it will be this time around. The Tigers shelled ASU 52-20 in Columbia last year, though the Indians did throw for more than 300 yards. It raised questions about Missouri's pass defense which, ironically, turned out to be the strength of the team.
This time around, Missouri should hit 50 again. The offense should not be a problem. The main focus here should be defense. If the Indians put points on the board and, more specifically, run the ball well, it could raise a few questions.
Look for Brad Smith to begin his senior season in style with more than 300 yards of total offense. Smith will run for more than 100 and Sean Coffey catches two touchdowns.
Final Score: Missouri 59, Arkansas State 14. Tigers start 1-0
September 170h vs New Mexico
This is the one most people are pointing to as a non-conference pitfall for the Tigers. Missouri has had a history of falling into those traps. With Dontrell Moore leading the way for the bowl-bound Lobos, this is a stiffer test than most think.
This will be a game for three quarters. Moore will expose a questionable middle of the defensive line for Missouri with 140 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. The teams are tied at 24 starting the fourth quarter.
Jason Simpson takes out his frustration on Moore, causing a fumble which is recovered by Marcus Bacon. Smith runs 65 yards for a score on the next play and the Tigers add a late touchdown to ice things.
With a pick, a forced fumble and 14 tackles, Simpson is the Big 12 player of the week.
Final Score: Missouri 38, New Mexico 24. Tigers move to 2-0
September 17th vs Troy
Talk about your revenge games. We won't recap last year. It sucked.
This time, the Tigers get the Trojans in their house. With Demarcus Ware playing his first game in Dallas, Troy won't have an answer for Smith Marcus Woods and Tony Temple on the ground. That trio will combine to rush for 275 yards as the Tigers roll.
In the fourth quarter, Brandon Coleman will replace Smith. Hit hard, Coleman will fumble, but offensive lineman Joel Clinger will pick the ball up and go 45 yards for the final score.
Final Score: Missouri 38, Troy 16. Missouri sweeps the non-conference slate
October 1st vs Texas
Missouri gets a slight jump in competition as it opens Big 12 play with the pre-season league favorites. In Austin, this one is terrifying. In Columbia, it's merely very scary.
The game is hyped all week long as a battle between Smith and Vince Young, possibly the two most versatile quarterbacks in the country. Both live up to the hype. Smith throws for a score and runs for another while Young puts 350 yards of total offense on the Tiger defense.
Missouri holds the lead in this one, 17-10 at the half. Young scores his second touchdown of the day on the ground to tie things in the third. On the first series of the fourth quarter, Smith is intercepted and Michael Huff runs it back for a score. Missouri can't bounce back and drops the opener.
Final Score: Texas 31, Missouri 17. Tigers suffer their first defeat
October 8th at Oklahoma State
Mizzou leaves the Show-Me State for the first time all season long. Stillwater isn't the league's most intimidating venue, but the Tigers haven't been one of college football's best road teams in recent years.
Last season, the Woods brothers hooked up for a late first-half touchdown that started the Tigers' season-long slide. That duo starts the scoring in Stillwater with a 50-yard touchdown hookup.
However, these are not the Pokes of a year ago. Forced to win the game without a dominant running back, Woods has to go to the air. Simpson and Marcus King each get an interception, setting up Temple touchdown runs. The sophomore has his breakout performance, running for 115 and three TD's. He takes over the starting job the next weekend against Iowa State.
Final Score: Missouri 34, Oklahoma State 20. Tigers even things up in the Big 12
October 15th vs Iowa State
It's Homecoming in Columbia and 55,000 turn out to see if the Tigers can get an early leg up in the North division. Iowa State is the league favorite and Bret Meyer is off to a start topped only by Young among Big 12 QB's.
Missouri jumps out early in this one with Smith finding William Franklin for a TD on the game's opening drive and then converting an ISU turnover into a 10-yard touchdown run.
ISU answers back behind two touchdown catches for Todd Blythe. The teams are tied headed to the locker room.
This is where Missouri's season is decided. In 2004, the Tigers couldn't answer the second-half bell during a five-game losing skid. This time, behind Simpson, Smith and Xzavie Jackson, they do.
Jackson hits Meyer causing a bad throw on the first series. Darnell Terrell picks up his first collegiate interception and Smith makes the Cyclones pay with a long TD to Coffey. The Tigers never look back and bury Iowa State, who won't live up to the pre-season hype of being the North's best tem.
Final Score: Missouri 33, Iowa State 21. Mizzou has an early edge in the North
October 22nd vs Nebraska
With a win, Missouri can control its own destiny on the path to the Big 12 title game in Houston. The Huskers come in flying with Zac Taylor second in the league in passing yards per game.
The two teams turn in three fantastic quarters, the exact opposite of the game in Lincoln a season ago. Going to the fourth, the game is tied at 24. That's when Smith takes over.
With 150 yards of total offense in the final stanza alone, Smith buries the Huskers and evens his career record against NU at 2-2. In the sixth game of the season, Smith scores his sixth rushing touchdown of the season for the go-ahead score.
Final Score: Missouri 31, Nebraska 24. Tigers go to 6-1
October 29th at Kansas
Looking to bury a two-game losing streak to their arch-rival and put the North title in their sights, Missouri travels to Lawrence with the Hawks looking for their first Big 12 win.
After a couple of weeks behind Temple, Woods comes out strong with 65 yards rushing in the first half, including a 30-yard TD jaunt. However, Missouri can muster little else against the Kansas defense, which is ranked second in the league. At halftime, the Beakers lead 10-7.
With Smith again shackled by Mark Mangino's club, the score remains tied at ten into the fourth. The Mizzou quarterback is picked by defensive player of the year Charles Gordon with five minutes left, setting up a field goal.
Kansas' only touchdown all day is on a punt return by Gordon and the Hawks are held to 170 yards of total offense. Unfortunately for Missouri, it's enough on this day as KU makes it three straight.
Final Score: Kansas 13, Missouri 10. Tigers fall back to 3-2 in league play
November 5th at Colorado
In a wide open division, the winner of this game still controls the North. The loser fades to .500 and will have a tough time staying in the race.
With Missouri's defensive line coming into its own, Colorado does not find much running room. In the second half, Gary Barnett abandons the running game and goes to a five receiver set engineered by senior quarterback Joel Klatt.
The Tigers go toe-to-toe with the Buffs offensively, but Klatt's experience wins out. He throws three second-half touchdown passes setting Colorado up for its second consecutive North division title. Missouri must regroup to finish the season strong.
Final Score: Colorado 35, Missouri 27. Mizzou drops its second straight
November 12th vs Baylor
On senior day, the Tigers are out for blood against the Bears, who are winless in league play. From the first snap, this game is about Smith.
Playing for the final time in front of the home crowd, Smith starts the first drive at the 20 yard line. He completes three passes for 25 yards and runs five times for 55, punching in the score for a 7-0 lead.
The Bears simply can't muster anything against a defense led by Simpson, also playing his final home game and in the midst of an all-Big 12 season. Simpson gets interceptions number four and five on the season and forces his third fumble, all setting up Tiger touchdowns.
Determined to let Smith have his day, Pinkel leaves him in until the middle of the fourth quarter. When he leaves, Smith has 200 yards passing and 200 rushing for the first time in his career. Redshirt freshman Chase Patton gets the first action of his career and drives the Tigers inside the Baylor ten. With the crowd chanting for Smith, number 16 trots out for one final play. He scores on an eight-yard option, his sixth touchdown of the day.
Final Score: Missouri 49, Baylor 10. The Tigers win their seventh
November 19th vs Kansas State
Looking to beat the Wildcats for the first time in his career, Smith hopes to build on his best game. Entering the contest, Smith needs 19 yards on the ground and 66 in the air to have his second 2,000-1,000 season. The Tiger quarterback achieves both those goals by halftime, but his Tigers are down 17-14 at the break.
With the score the same in the fourth, Smith finds freshman tight end Chase Coffman, who catches the first TD of his career against his dad's alma mater to put the Tigers up 21-17 with four minutes to play.
Wildcat quarterback Dylan Meier returns from a first-half injury for the game's final drive. He takes the Cats 72 yards in 11 plays and Yamon Figurs hauls in a touchdown pass with 45 seconds to play.
Final Score: Kansas State 24, Missouri 21. The Tigers finish 7-4 and 4-4 in the league, good enough for third place behind the Buffs and Wildcats.
Champs Sports Bowl
Back in the postseason, the Tigers head to Orlando just before Christmas to face the Boston College Eagles from the ACC.
Matched up against ACC player of the year Mathias Kiwanuka, Smith has one last chance to show his stuff on a national stage. Kiwanuka gets four sacks, but the Eagles can't control Smith and Temple on the ground. Both players top 100 yards and score a touchdown as the Tigers and Eagles battle to a 21 all tie at the end of regulation.
In OT, the Tigers go on defense first. A sack by Lorenzo Williams keeps the Eagles out of the end zone and they settle for a field goal and a 24-21 lead. Taking possession at the BC 25, Smith never lets go of the ball. He runs four times, the final carry for a six-yard touchdown.
Final Score: Missouri 28, Boston College 24. The Tigers finish 8-4
The Tigers open fall camp on Monday. PowerMizzou.com will be at every open practice throughout fall camp and will follow the team throughout the 2005 season. To talk about it with other Tiger fans, visit our premium forum, The Tigers' Lair.