Top 25 teams and games — No. 5 Missouri


Published: Wednesday, June 25, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, June 26, 2008 at 12:02 a.m.

Team No. 5 Missouri

The buzz: If not for those darn Sooners, Missouri would have been playing for the national title a year ago. But two losses to Oklahoma sent the Tigers instead to the Cotton Bowl. Oklahoma is not on the schedule this year (although Mizzou could face OU in the conference title game) and Gary Pinkel has an outstanding team to make a run.

Difference-maker: Chase Daniel was in the final four for the Heisman last year and figures to be competing for the award again this year especially when he has an explosive player like Jeremy Maclin as a wide receiver. Maclin had a great spring and has the speed to put up some amazing numbers.

The upside: The Tigers had a taste of the top of the mountain last year when they won their division and had a shot at a national title game. Sometimes you have to come close before you can get all the way there and with an experienced team and a soft schedule Missouri could go all the way.

The downside: Missouri lost some key players on offense, but returns 10 starters on defense so the expectations are going to be through the roof. It will be interesting to see how the Tigers deal with it since they won't be sneaking up on anyone this season.,

Schedule factor: The opening game with Illinois will tell a lot about how the season will go, but it's smooth sailing for the next three weeks until a trip to Nebraska. Missouri has to go to Texas and has a neutral site game against Kansas.

Game No. 5 Ohio State at Wisconsin

Where: Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, Wis.

When: Oct. 4.

Why it's sexy: If Ohio State beats USC, the implications should be huge. If not, it's still a big game for the Big 10. Either way, we're clearly talking about the two best teams in the Big 10 this year. If Wisconsin can pull off this upset, the Badgers are on the national map.

Preseason buzz: Ohio State in another national title game? It could happen, but this game and the one with USC are early and could derail the Jim Tressel Express. Wisconsin has 17 starters back from a team that underachieved a year ago, so the Badgers will be hungry.

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