published Thursday, November 1st, 2012

David Paschall: Missouri's Gary Pinkel quickly an SEC believer

Missouri Coach Gary Pinkel speaks to the media at the Southeastern Conference NCAA college football media day in Hoover, Ala.
Missouri Coach Gary Pinkel speaks to the media at the Southeastern Conference NCAA college football media day in Hoover, Ala.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

OTHER PICKS

Arkansas 37, Tulsa 34

Miami 23, Virginia Tech 20

W. Kentucky 28, MTSU 21

Ga. Tech 25, Maryland 22

N.C. State 21, Virginia 16

W. Forest 20, Boston Coll. 13

Clemson 42, Duke 19

Kansas St. 46, Oklahoma St. 27

Oregon 49, Southern Cal 35

Notre Dame 24, Pittsburgh 18

Ohio State 35, Illinois 6

Louisville 27, Temple 17

Oklahoma 31, Iowa State 24

Oregon St. 33, Arizona St. 32

Michigan St. 30, Nebraska 23

Boise St. 38, San Diego St. 29

Stanford 45, Colorado 10

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel did not need an entire season in SEC football to determine if the new league for the Tigers is tougher than their old one, the Big 12.

"I'm not here to devalue anybody," Pinkel said Wednesday, "but the difference to me between the Big 12 and the SEC is that the SEC has a lot more good teams. I think that is fair to say, and I think it's hard to argue that."

The Tigers dropped their first four SEC games by the average score of 33-14 before breaking through last Saturday with a 33-10 win over Kentucky. Pinkel's Tigers went 3-5 and 2-6 in Big 12 games during his first two years (2001-02) in that league but were 35-22 in the seven seasons that preceded this one.

Missouri has lost to Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama by at least three touchdowns, and the Tigers also suffered a 19-15 home loss to Vanderbilt.

"When you have multiple numbers of really good football teams, there are going to be great challenges each and every week," Pinkel said. "That's the beauty of being in the SEC."

The Tigers close their SEC schedule with trips to Florida, Tennessee and Texas A&M.

Pasquali's Pix:

Troy at Tennessee: Bring on the Trojans, because nobody owns November like the Volunteers. Vols 38, Trojans 24.

Missouri at Florida: This game has been relocated to the Jarvis Jones rehabilitation center. Gators 26, Tigers 7.

New Mexico State at Auburn: The Tigers are turning to freshman Jonathan Wallace at quarterback. Who they really could use is William Wallace. Tigers 27, Aggies 14.

Vanderbilt at Kentucky: One of these millenniums, this game is going to decide the SEC East. Commodores 24, Wildcats 13.

Texas A&M at Mississippi State: The Bulldogs are hoping to avoid becoming the first SEC team to start a regular season 7-0 and finish it 7-5. Aggies 21, Bullies 20.

UTC at Western Carolina: Sure, UTC's rash of close losses in recent years is frustrating, but the Catamounts already have clinched an 11th consecutive losing season. Mocs 31, Catamounts 16.

Ole Miss at Georgia: The Bulldogs last week notched their first win over a team that will finish with a winning SEC record since downing Auburn in 2007. Bulldogs 30, Rebels 27.

Alabama at LSU: The Tigers need to retrieve their offensive game plan from January's embarrassment in New Orleans and go about doing the exact opposite. Crimson Tide 23, Tigers 10.

Last week:

Winners........................14

Kiffins..........................11

Pasquali's worst week ever -- forecasting ACC games not involving Florida State and Clemson has been beyond brutal -- has left him at 168-57 overall (74.7 percent) this season.

about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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