For the first time in twenty years, the SEC will welcome two new members into the conference today. One of them, the Missouri Tigers have their hands full against the seventh-ranked Georgia Bulldogs. They aren't exaclty trying to make nice with the visiting Dawgs.
Missouri DT, Sheldon Richardson, was asked about the Georgia-Buffalo game."I watched the game. I turned it off, too," Richardson said. "... It's like watching Big Ten football. It's old-man football."
I guess that is the case if you consider nearly 500 yards of offense and 45 points "old man football".
Many analysts have picked Georgia to win the East and potentially make a run at the BCS National Championship game. Mark Richt, Georgia's Head Coach, refused to get caught up in a war of words. He simply shook off the comments and turned the attention back to the game. But you can be sure Richardson's comments didn't fall on deaf ears.
Missouri does bring a new dynamic to the playing field. While the majority of the SEC has put an emphasis on playing solid defense mixed with a potent running game on offense, the Missouri Tigers will introduce a wide open spread offense led by junior quarterback, James Franklin. A large part of their offensive formation consist of five wide receivers and no running back, a far cry from the rest of the offenses in their new league home.
On Saturday night in Columbia, something will have to give. With Georgia missing four key starters on defense, they will certainly be tested by the Missouri offense. However, Missouri hasn't seen a running attack as explosive as Georgia's. The Bulldogs racked up 227 yards on the ground last week.
The Missouri offense is a lot of style, but substance is key in the SEC and only time will tell if the uptempo, spread style the Tigers brandish on offense will be sustainable in the SEC.
Tonight begins a new era in Missouri Tigers football; and with it, a season long evaluation in offensive sustainability.