If we learned anything last year, it's that Missouri is still the same Mizzou we've always known.
Coming off a 12-2 season and Cotton Bowl win in 2007, the Tigers entered 2008 as one of a handful of teams considered legitimate national championship contenders. They ended the year considered one of the nation's biggest disappointments. Mizzou handled its business against the lesser opponents on the schedule, but Chase Daniel and Co. couldn't handle the best of the bunch.
The Longhorns, for instance, rolled the Tigers, 56-31, in Austin. The game wasn't even as close as the lopsided final score would suggest - Texas led 35-3 at the half.
Now, Gary Pinkel and his staff face the prospect of rebuilding one of the school's best teams ever. Is it better or worse if that team really wasn't that good? Not sure, but it doesn't sound good for the 2009 squad either way. The Oct. 24 game in Columbia looks like a spot where the young Tigers could get one to build on.
This is a classic sandwich game for Texas: one week before, the Red River Shootout; one week after, a trip to Oklahoma State. With the Tigers likely to struggle early in the season, the Longhorns should be expecting a laugher. Win or lose against the Sooners, no chance Texas is focused for this matchup. Missouri will want payback for the '08 beatdown, so look for the Tigers to be sharp.
There are plenty of good reasons to believe Mizzou has a shot at taking Texas down. However, none of them makes the Tiger roster anymore talented. It's a tall order, but maybe Mizzou can catch the 'Horns slipping.