For the first time this season, the Missouri football team has cracked The Associated Press Top 25, checking in at No. 22 after beating Ole Miss 38-27 on Saturday, the Tigers' fifth straight victory.
It's the first time Mizzou (5-1, 2-0 SEC) has appeared in the AP poll since the final week of last year's regular season. The Tigers were No. 22 heading into bowl season then finished the year unranked after losing to Oklahoma State in the Liberty Bowl.
Mizzou is not eligible to be ranked in the coaches' poll this year after getting hit with NCAA sanctions back in January, the result of a long-held policy of the American Football Coaches Association that prohibits its members from ranking teams under serious NCAA sanctions. Should the NCAA Infractions Appeals Committee overturn MU's postseason ban, coaches will be allowed to put Mizzou on their ballot this season.
With Saturday's win, plus losses by Georgia and Florida, the Tigers are the only team in the SEC East Division without a conference loss, meaning Barry Odom's team is alone in first place heading into Saturday's game at Vanderbilt. The Tigers are early favorites by 21.5 points against the struggling Commodores (1-5, 0-3). Georgia, after losing to unranked South Carolina, slipped from No. 3 to No. 10 while Florida fell from No. 7 to 9 after losing at Louisiana State.
LSU's win vaulted the Tigers from No. 5 to No. 2, trailing only top-ranked Alabama. Clemson dropped from No. 2 to 3. The other top 10 teams are No. 4 Ohio State, No. 5 Oklahoma, No. 6 Wisconsin, No. 7 Penn State and No. 8 Notre Dame.
Missouri appears on the ballot of 56 of 65 AP voters, according to the site CollegePollTracker.com, and peak at No. 15 on two ballots.
Mizzou's national ranking triggers a unique clause in Odom's new contract that includes a $5,000 bonus for any week the Tigers appear in one of the major national polls.