ATHENS -- It was this month last year that the SEC announced the addition of a 13th school, and Georgia head football coach Mark Richt was asked for his immediate reaction.
You would think if theyre joining us, youd think thered be at least another one joining somewhere along the way, Richt said on Sept. 25, 2011. Itll be interesting to see how it all shakes out in the end.
It shook out this way: Richt was right as Missouri became the 14th member of the SEC, and on Saturday, Georgia visits Missouri in that programs conference debut.
To me its the biggest game of the year, no doubt, Richt said Sunday. Its a monster game.
That does seem to be the case. Missouri will make its first impression to the SEC, and sixth-ranked Georgia will try to improve on its initial impression this season.
One day after his team struggled at times in a 45-23 win over Buffalo, Richt admitted the effort was a bit lacking.
It looked like Missouris boys played harder than our boys played, Richt said after watching tape of the Tigers 62-10 rout of Southeastern Louisiana. I dont know what the temperature was for their game. But I dont want it to seem like our guys didnt play hard. We probably played as hard as we could, considering the elements.
Missouri might not be a big national name, but the Tigers were far from doormats in the Big 12:
In the past five years, Missouri has a better overall record (49-19) than Georgia (45-25) and the same number of bowl wins.
In assessing tape of last years Missouri games, Richt complimented the Tigers players body types -- muscular, lean, good change of direction. In other words, their players have SEC body types.
This year, Missouri adds receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, who is 6-foot-6 and was one of the nations top recruits. And quarterback James Franklin, a dual-threat, appears healthy after offseason shoulder surgery.
Then theres also the matter of the home atmosphere. Richt was asked his reaction after seeing Georgia was picked to travel out for Missouris conference debut.
What did I think about it? To play Missouri, at Missouri, opening game in league plays is not the best draw, he said. But it is what it is. Weve gotta play it.
Old man football
Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, who has a history of being outspoken, was asked after Saturdays game if he had watched Georgias win over Buffalo earlier in the day.
I watched that game. I turned it off, too, Richardson said, according to the Columbia (Mo.) Tribune.
He was asked why.
Its like watching Big Ten football. Its old man football, Richardson said.
Richt was asked his reaction to that.
Well, did he say old man or old school, or whatd he say? Richt said.
Then he laughed.
I dont know what he meant by that, Richt said. You know, bottom line is weve gotta get after it and do what we do well, and theyll be trying to stop everything were trying to get accomplished.
As of late Sunday afternoon, Richt had not met with the trainers to go over the injury status of key players. So there wasnt much news on that front.
Richt did indicate that the preliminary diagnosis -- or perhaps hope is the best word -- on right tackle John Theus is that his ankle injury wasnt that bad.
But no more definitive word came on Theus, cornerback Malcolm Mitchell (sprained ankle) or tailback Ken Malcome (hand).
Meanwhile, Richt again remains coy on safety Bacarri Rambo and inside linebacker Alec Ogletree, who were suspended for the opener.
A reporter from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch asked Richt on Sundays teleconference if it was fair to say their status would be set Saturday.
Yeah, Richt said. Well know when the time comes.