Missouri picked to fall in 2014

All good things must come to an end, right? Well, according to our faithful readers, Missouri's special second year in the SEC won't have much of an encore, as the Tigers were picked to be the SEC team poised to fall in 2014.

With more than 14,300 votes cast in our SportsNation poll, Missouri took home 39 percent of the vote. Auburn was second with 23 percent, and Alabama was third (16 percent). South Carolina was fourth (15), and LSU was fifth (seven).

Missouri is missing some key elements from last year's team. Quarterback James Franklin, receivers L'Damian Washington and Marcus Lucas, defensive ends Michael Sam and Kony Ealy, and cornerback E.J. Gaines are all gone. That's a lot to replace, but the Tigers should have enough bodies all around to help soften the blow.

Nowhere is that more true than quarterback and receiver, where the Tigers could still have quite the explosive showing in 2014. Maty Mauk, who filled in for Franklin for a month and lost just one game as a starter last season, is back and showed flashes of being a star when he was in. Mauk has the moxie, athletic ability and the arm to be one of the SEC's best quarterbacks in 2014. No one should be sleeping on him.

All eyes will be on receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, who has the ability to be an All-SEC or even an All-America performer. He has to get his off-field life taken care of, but if he can keep his head on straight, he'll be a nightmare for defenses.

The defensive line still has a lot of talent and experience coming back, starting with ends Markus Golden and Shane Ray.

The toughest obstacle will be replacing three starters in the secondary, including both corners. The Tigers have bodies, just not a ton of experience in the back end.