Missouri Tigers lose SEC virginity with loss to Georgia

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Sep 09, 2012

The Missouri Tigers made their SEC debut Saturday night in Columbia, MO. The pomp and pageantry for Mizzou's seat at the big boy's table of college football was rivaled only by the pregame confidence exuded by the Tigers. Early in the week, Mizzou's Sheldon Richardson said No. 7 Georgia plays "old man football". He also said no team in the SEC can "touch" the Tigers if they execute. 

As Sheldon would learn, executing in the SEC is no easy task.

The Tigers produced a direct snap that almost sailed over the head of running back Kendall Lawrence.  Quarterback James Franklin was lined up at wide receiver for some reason. On the third play of their SEC career, the ball is snapped over Franklin's head (he was lined up at quarterback on that play). The ball would have sailed over Andre the Giant's Afro as well.

On 4th down, the Tigers committed a false start penalty. SEC Fever. Catch it! 

Fortunately for the Tigers and their fans, the Bulldog's first play netted an eight-yard loss. The third play resulted in a sack of QB Aaron Murray. 

At the end of 15 minutes, the Tigers and Bulldogs were tied at zero. If ever there was a typical start on the scoreboard in the SEC, this was it. 

In the second and third quarters, Missouri and Georgia traded jabs and blows. The teams traded turnovers and Missouri took the first lead 3-0. Things opened up just before halftime when Mizzou's Franklin connected with Marcus Lucas on a 41-yard touchdown. Exactly 61 seconds later, the Bulldogs answered with a touchdown of their own.

They missed the extra point but the message that Georgia meant business was crystal clear. 

Missouri answered after halftime with a 69-yard touchdown pass from Franklin to L'Damian Washington. Washington's touchdown gave the Tigers a 17-9 lead. The quick-strike scores to Lucas and Washington prove the Tigers are recruiting on the same path paved by past standouts Jeremy Maclin and Danario Alexander.

After Mizzou gained the 8-point advantage, the Bulldogs would outscore the Tigers 32-3. 

At various points, we learn that ESPN color analyst Matt Millen once gave former Missouri tight end Kellen Winslow a scar on his chin. Millen also said Tigers' WR T.J. Moe is,"Kind of like Wes Welker."

Also like Welker and Moe: Abraham Lincoln, the Pillsbury Doughboy, and Richard Dean Anderson

For Missouri, the atmosphere and action of the first 40 minutes of football was a great prelude to playing in the SEC. The last 20 minutes served as a harsh reality that the big boys table is not for the weak. 

If the four suspended Bulldogs played in Saturday's game, this could have been a bloodbath (anytime you're missing a player named "Rambo", you're not at full strength). Likewise if the same game took place in Athens, GA. 

The Tigers need to learn real quick (if they haven't already) that you can't start games the way they started in Columbia Saturday. 

Welcome to the SEC.

Mizzou spray-painted #MIZSEC on the field.

ESPN informed viewers to Tweet with #UGAvsMIZZ as well as @ESPNNCFB LIVES HERE (who are the ad wizards who came up with that one?). At what point will ESPN and the collegiate institutions begin coordinating their Twitter hashtags? 

Better question: at what point will collegiate institutions begin charging the networks for Twitter hashtag coordination? 

Cold Hard Football Facts' bylaws state the use of phrases such as horse-sh*t and other profanities often bleeped out on NFL Films coaching highlights are acceptable for print where appropriate.

The third quarter roughing the passer call on Mizzou linebacker Sheldon Richardson was indeed a heaping, steaming pile of Biff Tannen manure. It extended the Bulldogs' drive which culminated in a seven-yard Tavarres King touchdown. A successful two-point conversion followed and the game was tied at 17.

At some point during a timeout on the field, I'd say to my broadcast colleague Matt Millen, "So, about your time in Detroit ..."

Since I'm disappointed in the way the Missouri Tigers played (I graduated from Missouri in 2005), I'll shift some of my negative charge that comes with defeat to people who deserve to be mocked. In this case, it's Bobby Petrino.

In light of No. 8 Arkansas and Petrino's loss to ULM -- that's the University of Louisiana Monroe, not one of those three-letter bands from the early 90s --  I can't help but think a sidecar on his motorcycle could have prevented this fleeting defeat.

Next week's meeting with Alabama shares some responsibility as well.

Tweet @patrickimig.

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