Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Before the season started, many thought that Missouri could develop into the best team in the Big 12 by the end of the season.
I know, because I was one of them.
But back-to-back losses to Oklahoma State and Texas pushed the Tigers out of the national spotlight and left them as just another good team.
After watching them cruise to a 31-7 halftime lead at Iowa State, I think that Missouri still might surprise some people.
If they hold the victory tonight, they will win the North Division title. That means they will have what I would think would be a rather sizable homefield advantage for the Dec. 6 Big 12 championship game in Kansas City.
Chase Daniel is playing like the Heisman Trophy candidate he used to be. Daniel hit his first 16 passes in the first quarter en route to 174 yards passing in the first half. Just as impressive is that he has clicked on five of six third-down plays.
He looked almost mortal, however, when Allen Bell stopped a drive deep in Missouri territory with an interception early in the second quarter.
But William Moore turned around that surge of momentum with a 17-yard interception return for a touchdown three plays later to extend Missouri lead to three touchdowns. Moore produced eight interceptions last season but had been shut out before tonight. He picked a big time to produce his first one of the season tonight.
Other things I've noticed in the first half include:
I'm amazed at the support that Iowa State is receiving from fans at Jack Trice Stadium. The Cyclones are 2-8 and playing for little except pride tonight. It's freezing and the stadium is almost packed. Those fans love their football -- even if most of the time this season it hasn't been very good.
I love the direct snap to a trailing running back that Missouri utilizes on a regular basis. Offensive coordinator Dave Christensen usually likes to use it for Jeremy Maclin. But Derrick Washington can run it a little, too -- as evidenced by his 2-yard TD run from the formation early in the second quarter.
Missouri's quick-strike offense can make a mockery of defenses when they are clicking. Washington's 52-yard touchdown marked the 29th touchdown drive of less than two minutes this season. That total leads the Big 12 and ranks second nationally behind only Tulsa.
Chase Coffman is in uniform and looks like he wants to see action tonight. But he's hardly been missed as freshman Andrew Jones has produced five catches in the first half, including two on Missouri's final drive of the first half.
It looks like Missouri is close to punching its ticket to Kansas City. With that being the case, I'm fixing to flip the station and start concentrating on Colorado-Oklahoma State on another channel. Add to it that my wife is fixing to bring me a cheese enchilada plate back from Blanco Cafe, one of San Antonio's true culinary treasures. I can't wait for either.