Southeastern Conference country is known for top tier football, packed stadiums on Saturdays and devoted fan bases. We won’t know how Missouri fits in the first of those facets, but the Tiger fans seem suited to the move.
MU sold its entire allotment of 2012 season tickets, the first time that has ever happened per The Missourian. according to Missouri Sports Magazine, has seen a jump of 94 percent in secondary market prices.
The Tigers’ SEC opener comes early. Georgia visits Columbia in Week 2, Sept. 8. The Bulldogs arrive with a top 10 pre-season ranking and designs on a BCS run. Nothing could be a more gratifying introduction to its new conference than snuffing out the championship dreams of a new divisional rival.
A key for the on-field product to match the fervor sure to be in the stands is the health of the backfield. MU had one of the premiere running threats in college football last season with the tandem of quarterback James Franklin and running back Henry Josey. Josey went down late in the season, suffering what was described as a one-in-a-million knee tear. Suprisingly, Lindy’s Sports reporter Ben Cook writes that MU head coach Gary Pinkel hopes Josey is ready to go for the season opener against FCS opponent Southeastern Louisiana.
Franklin’s injury was less of an anomaly, but potentially debilitating nonetheless. The 2865-yard passing, 981-yard rushing dual threat quarterback suffered a shoulder tear that required surgery, but has returned to practice and reportedly looks on track to line up behind center come Sept. 1.
MU fans are obviously already excited for the program’s SEC debut. A Tiger victory over Georgia with a healthy lineup might catapult the base into SEC-worthy zealotry very early into the tenure.