Have SEC fans and media learned nothing? - KCTV5

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Have SEC fans and media learned nothing?

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

"Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it."  

When Sir Winston Churchill made that statement, he was not talking about SEC football coaches, fans and media members, but the thought certainly applies.

One year ago, most SEC folks completely discounted the Missouri Tigers.  Yes, Mizzou had shocked the world by winning the SEC East in 2013, but the "experts" passed that off as an abberation.

They had numerous reasons MU would not repeat as division champions.  After all, the Tigers were losing an All-SEC defensive lineman, a star wide receiver , their starting quarterback and other key performers.  Plus, the rest of the division was improved.

In their heads, it all added up to a third or fourth place finish in the East.

Of course, all that was erased by another 7-1 conference record, good enough for a second-straight division title.

Over a two-year period, Mizzou's forged a 14-2 SEC regular season record, reaching two straight conference title games.  

Not exactly what the SEC experts expected.

You might think those folks have learned their lesson, but you would be wrong.

This week, I started doing my weekly radio appearances down in SEC country, and the callers and radio hosts are giving the Tigers very little respect.

They point to Georgia's superior talent, and improved coaching at Florida and Tennessee, to explain why the Tigers are picked third or fourth in the East.

Forget that Missouri has beaten Tennessee three straight years.  Ignore MU's win at Georgia two years ago.  Don't even consider Gary Pinkel's coaching ability.

When I look at the SEC East, I see a division filled with big stadiums, big fan bases and big-name coaches.  None of those things win football games.

Talent and coaching wins games, and I do not see players and coaches better than the guys in Columbia, MO.

While Pinkel gets very little attention outside our area, he has proven how great he is.  

An offensive specialist, he is nothing less than a "quarterback guru."  He's won big with QB's Brad Smith, Chase Daniel, Blaine Gabbert, James Franklin and Maty Mauk. 

But this offensive-minded guy has also turned out three straight All-SEC defensive linemen in Sheldon Richardson, Michael Sam and Shane Ray.  

None of that matters to the folks down south, who still go by recruiting service rankings and reputation.  Missouri doesn't win those battles.

The Tigers don't have the biggest stadium, the loudest marching band or a trophy case full of national championships.  Their coach doesn't speak with a southern accent or attract the attention that follows guys like Steve Spurrier, Mark Richt or Butch Jones.  Heck, Kentucky's Mark Stoops gets more publicity.

But, with the exception of Alabama's Nick Saban, no SEC coach has had a better two years. 

Leave the Gomer Pyle act to the rest of the league, I'll take Gary Pinkel's understated style any time.

When people ask me if the Tigers will win a third-straight division title, I tell them to bet against Mizzou at their peril.

Maybe another big year will finally earn the Tigers a little respect.

They kick off their season Sept. 5 versus Southeast Missouri.

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