At one point, the Missouri Tigers were in danger of not even making a bowl game. Now they’re predicted to win one. That’s the sort of turnaround that the Tigers have enjoyed this year after being 4-5 at one point this season. Even after losing the Big 12’s leading rusher in Henry Josey, the strength of the Missouri schedule eased a bit and James Franklin provided enough offense for Gary Pinkel’s team to return to a winning record at 7-5 and become the favorites for tonight’s Indepedence Bowl.
David Ubben of ESPN believes they are now the favorites against the Tar Heels, despite the dynamism of the UNC offense. Missouri is going to be challenged for sure given that the Tar Heels have some great young skill players like Dwight Jones, who was recently ruled eligible after some concerns off the field. Even then, Mizzou has enough weapons of their own to provide a counterbalance.Ubben writes, “The Tigers match up pretty well with UNC, and take care of business with a solid performance from James Franklin, who tops 125 yards rushing and throws for 225, accounting for four touchdowns. The Tigers head to the SEC on the right note.”