Midseason report: Missouri

October, 15, 2008
10/15/08
2:01
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Missouri (5-1, 1-1): The Tigers were fashionable national title contenders who ran roughshod through their first five opponents before charging into a buzz saw against Oklahoma State last week. The Cowboys' underrated defense forced Chase Daniel into three interceptions and even ended his no-three-and-out streak that had continued since the start of the season. And the Cowboys were able to blister the Tigers for three long scoring plays that left them with doubts heading into the meat of the Big 12 season. That defeat undid most of the goodwill that had emanated from Missouri's landmark victory over Nebraska the previous week and four earlier triumphs.

Offensive MVP, Chase Daniel: Even with his struggles against Oklahoma State, Daniel remains in the hunt for the Heisman Trophy and could turn things around by orchestrating an upset in Austin this weekend over Texas. Daniel ranks third nationally in total offense (362.5 yards per game) and fifth in pass efficiency, leading the Tigers to 15 straight scoring drives at one point this season.

Defensive MVP, Sean Weatherspoon: Playmaking linebacker Sean Weatherspoon has elevated his game in his second season as starter, ranking second in the conference with an average of 10.8 tackles per game. He also has scored two touchdowns on interceptions, becoming the first player in school history to return interceptions for scores in back-to-back games. The Missouri defense also seems to get much of its leadership from his demeanor.

What's next: The Tigers' national championship hopes are on life support and likely depend on an upset victory at Texas, where they haven't won since 1896. The schedule moderates from there and there's an outside chance they could still win the Big 12 North even if they lose to Texas by running the table and beating Kansas in the final regular-season game. But that's a huge if, particularly for a team that was an overwhelming favorite in the preseason to win the North.

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BIG 12 SCOREBOARD

Saturday, 12/20
Monday, 12/22
Tuesday, 12/23
Wednesday, 12/24
Friday, 12/26
Saturday, 12/27
Monday, 12/29
Tuesday, 12/30
Wednesday, 12/31
Thursday, 1/1
Friday, 1/2
Saturday, 1/3
Sunday, 1/4
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