QUESTION: Everyone seems convinced that something happened to the Missouri football team after its fifth win. Any theories on what transpired?
BENFRED: It's a shame this season has devolved into a public guessing game about The Big Moment that derailed the Tigers, but I don't know of any smoking gun, specifically. I think it's a combination of things.
Cale Garrett's season-ending injury was bigger than most realized, myself included. The defense played well the next game out, but his leadership is missed, and it's just different trying to lead when you're not playing.
Kelly Bryant appears to have been over-hyped. Then he got hurt, first the knee and then the hamstring. Then he was trying to lead during a losing streak, something he's never, ever done before. His presence seemed to shrink, and this team had spent its offseason and winning streak with that presence as a cornerstone to its confidence.
The offense has melted down instead of turning to new leaders. Larry Rountree has lost ground. Albert O. is a chronic underachiever. No big play receiver has emerged. A lot of it starts on the offensive line, which has underachieved and probably lost confidence as players get shuffled around.
The five-game home winning streak -- a strange twist to any college football schedule -- seemed to give the team a false sense of confidence, even after the season-opening stubbed toe at Wyoming.
If there is one specific thing not mentioned above, the team has hidden it well.