COLUMBIA - The pomp and circumstance that greeted Missouri in its entrance into the Southeastern Conference has all but faded away.
More than a month into the season, the Tigers are still trying to get off the snide in the SEC and prove what they set out to do originally, that they belong in the conference they so badly wanted to join.
But it likely will only get worse before it gets better.
"I think this is a team, quite honestly, that has no weaknesses," Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said about the Tigers' next opponent, Alabama.
When you're a team facing your first 0-4 conference start since 1999, that is probably not what you want to hear.
It is likely to be an uphill climb for Missouri (3-3, 0-3 SEC) as it welcomes the top-ranked team and defending national champions to Faurot Field for today's 2:30 p.m. nationally televised contest (KRCG-TV).
The Tigers will try to do today what they couldn't against Georgia, South Carolina and Vanderbilt. But Pinkel's comments are a harsh reality of what lies ahead for the Tigers as they try to avoid losing for the fourth time this season.
"They're dominating their opponents," Pinkel said.
That could be an understatement. Alabama is 5-0 and has outscored its opponents 201-35 this season.
Missouri has its work cut out in all phases of the game, but maybe no area will be as critical as up front. Alabama is averaging more than three sacks per game and is going against a patchwork Missouri offensive line that will be without center Mitch Morse, who had knee surgery earlier this week.