Top 10 players of the season: No. 2

Our player at No. 2 would probably be No. 1 on most college coaches' wish lists, and he had another great season. But his inability to develop Missouri's passing game keeps this player at No. 2. Who could be No. 1? Check out Dec. 30 as Inside Mizzou reveals its offensive and team MVPs from the bowls game site in Shreveport, La.

On New Year's Eve, the nation will get its best chance yet to see what Brad Smith can do.

Missouri's 6:30 p.m. game against Arkansas in the Independence Bowl is the only game on primetime on Wednesday, so there will be plenty of time for those who don't start the partying too early to see the Tigers' electric quarterback.

But Smith's season has been interesting because even though Missouri won more games than last season and earned a bowl bid, Smith didn't put up the same kind of numbers he put up in his freshman year.

That difference was most obvious in his passing, which seemed to go nowhere but down without Justin Gage. Even with plenty of time to throw, Smith had trouble reading defenses and even making the throws. He finished with only 1,822 yards passing with 11 touchdowns. His overall rating dropped a point from last season.

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel insists Smith has the kind of arm that will some day be great, but in the meantime, Smith can make up for it with his legs. And boy, can he. Smith ran for 1,310 yards this season, becoming the first player in school history to have to 1,000 yards seasons. He also had 17 touchdowns.

In the Tigers' bowl-clinching win against Texas Tech, Smith ran for 291 yards and a school-record five touchdowns. In Missouri's 41-24 win against Nebraska, Smith scored three running touchdowns and had a receiving touchdown.

Smith's total offense dropped almost 20 yards from last season, but in the end, Smith got Missouri back to its first bowl game in five seasons. And that's what people will remember, and that's what puts him at No. 2 on our list.

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