Over the weekend the Longhorns learned their 2017 bowl destination as the prestigious
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Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl announced the matchup between the Texas Longhorns and the Missouri Tigers.
These squads last did battle in 2011, when a Longhorn offense featuring true freshman David Ash, duct tape and bailing wire lost lead back and Wildcat impresario Fozzy Whittaker to the Tigers’ concrete turf and subsequently gasped its way to a 17-5 road loss. It was the first time that a Texas offense failed to put a touchdown on the board since the 2004 Texas-OU game, when the Mack N’ Greg Squattin’ (To Pee) In The Cotton Offense achieved apotheosis by posting a goose egg with Vince Young, Cedric Benson, Ramonce Taylor, Limas Sweed, Bo Scaife, David Thomas, Justin Blalock, Jonathan Scott, Will Allen and Lyle Sendlein on the field.
But fear not, Texas fans - while the 2011 Tiger defense was a respectable 30th in both Defensive S&P+ and Defensive FEI, the 2017 edition looks to be much more permissive. In fact, let’s kick things off with a little Tale of the Tape for this matchup:
2017 Record (Overall): Missouri 7-5, Texas 6-6
2017 Record (Conference): Texas 5-4, Missouri 4-4
2017 Overall S&P+ Ranking: Missouri #32, Texas #54
2017 Overall FEI Ranking: Texas #35, Missouri #79
2017 Offensive S&P+: Missouri #10, Texas #96
2017 Offensive FEI: Missouri #20, Texas #116
2017 Defensive S&P+: Texas #26, Missouri #93
2017 Defensive FEI: Texas #7, Missouri #81
2017 Special Teams S&P+: Missouri #6, Texas #70
2017 FEI Strength of Schedule: Texas #4, Missouri #46
2017 Overall F+/- Combined: Texas #40, Missouri #55
Crucial Players Sitting Out: Missouri 0, Texas 3
Setting aside the statistical noise (those overall team rankings are hilariously far apart between the two measures,) the big picture here is essentially what you’d expect in a setting that oozes prestige like the
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Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl. In other words, a pair of spare-to-fairs, each of which is getting severely let down on one side of the ball. I’m still a half-box of bootleg Indian pharmacy Quaaludes and three primal-scream therapy sessions away from any in-depth discussions of the Longhorn offense, so let’s focus on the fact that the Missouri defense has waged a campaign of at least approximate putridity. The first half of the Tigers’ season was punctuated by puncturings to the tune of:
45 points allowed against Missouri State in the season opener
31 to the Mighty Muschamps of South Carolina
35 the barely simmering Purdue Boilermakers
51 to Auburn
40 to the Kentucky team that isn’t coached by John Calipari
53 to Jawja
The SEC’s slapdick scheduling bought them a two-game midseason respite against Idaho and UConn. They then bayoneted the Gators and Volunteers as each opponent staggered along its personal Bataan Death March and mercilessly pranked
Lambda Lambda Lambda Vanderbilt in the regular season’s penultimate contest. What could have been a real “Improving Unit Or Declining Schedule” puzzler got ramped down to an SEC senior-year mechanical engineering thesis level of difficulty:
As their bowl game tune-up saw the D get tuned up for 45 points by a gravy-spattered Bert Bielema.
When it’s all said and done, the Missouri Tiger defense is probably a tad bit worse than Texas Tech’s.
I realize that this should sound like better news than it probably does.
The Missouri offense, on the other hand, does present a legitimate threat. Their season-closing six-game streak of 45+ point performances was certainly buoyed by an ass-tastic schedule, but they’ll probably be the fourth-toughest unit that the Longhorn D faces this season behind OU, Oklahoma State and Early-Season USC. QB Drew Lock can spin it (3695 passing yards, 43 touchdowns, 12 INTs, 169.4 QB rating,) they’ve got a pair of speedy darters at tailback in Ish Witter and Larry Rountree III and their receiving corps (headlined by 6’3” 1,000-yard dude J’Mon Moore) is in the neighborhood of what we saw against Okie Lite and West Virginia. Texas will basically be facing a slightly down-at-the-heels version of the Oklahoma State offense that Todd Orlando throttled...only on a neutral field and without three of their four most impactful defenders.
We’ll have some more detailed breakdowns on tap, but for now:
It’s resistible forces versus movable objects!
It’s somewhat irresistible forces versus largely immovable but recently leaky objects!
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Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl!
Plenty of good seats still available.