Mizzou football has an exciting feel with Coach Barry Odom so far. We look at other coaches Mizzou will face.
College football isn’t even over in 2015, but with the 2016 season right around the corner in the minds of many Mizzou football fans, let’s take an early look at the coaches who will be lining up against the Tigers in the 2016 season.
Dana Holgorsen, @West Virginia Mountaineers, Sept. 3
West Virginia might be relatively new to the Big 12 Conference, but Coach Holgorsen most certainly is not. He served in several capacities while at Texas Tech, and was offensive coordinator for both the Red Raiders and the Oklahoma State Cowboys in 2007 and 2010 respectively.
Holgorsen is going to use the offense that the Mountaineers have in an attempt to bury Mizzou early. The probable return of defensive lineman Harold Brantley has many people excited about how good the defense can be again in 2016, and there’s no question that if Mizzou are good on the other side of the ball, that Brantley will have to be someone that shines in this game.
This will be a huge test early for Mizzou’s new defensive coordinator DeMontie Cross.
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Chris Creighton, Eastern Michigan Eagles, Sept. 10
You might be deceived if you look at the fact that Eastern Michigan’s Mid-America Conference record over the last two seasons is 1-15. Creighton took over the reigns in Ypsilanti in 2014 and is currently in the middle of his rebuilding project. It’s an “easy win” in most Tiger fans’ minds, but this has all the ingredients of a tough game by a team that has nothing to lose.
Eastern Michigan is not SEMO, and if you’ll remember, Missouri was able to defeat the team from Cape Girardeau in a very drawn-out and unconvincing manner to start out the 2015 season, something that would be an indicator of their struggles to come. The Tigers will have to play better than they did against SEMO to win this year’s home opener.
Kirby Smart, Georgia Bulldogs, Sept. 17
Well, that didn’t take long. Columbia will welcome Smart in his first true road game as head coach, after Georgia’s “neutral site” game against North Carolina in the Georgia Dome to start the season. But Smart isn’t new to the game, and he’s going to want to show very quickly why Georgia moved swiftly on his coaching ability.
Smart’s style suits the Dawgs well right now, because it’s blitz-heavy on defense and ruthlessly aggressive on offense. It’s difficult to attempt to preview a game between two coaches that have never played one game yet at their respective schools, but Mizzou’s Odom won’t look to back down either. Again however, the question will likely be about the capability of the Tiger offense.
Kenny Carter, Delaware State Hornets, Sept. 24
Delaware State might be the least impressive opponent Mizzou will face in 2016. The FCS school was blown out in most games. The 2015 Hornets lost every game on the schedule in Coach Carter’s first season, save the final one against in-state rival Howard, 32-31.
On the more exciting side for Carter’s team and fans, the game against Mizzou will be a big one for them. The black college from Dover doesn’t schedule big teams every year. In fact, the Hornets’ trip to Columbia will mark their first game against a power five conference FBS-level opponent since they traveled to Ann Arbor to play Michigan in 2009. Coach Carter will look to build excitement in the off-season and turn the team’s fortunes around with a good showing in this game.
The game is likely to be televised nationally on SEC Network, bringing an invaluable level of exposure to Delaware State athletics in general.
Les Miles, @LSU Tigers, Oct. 1
Tiger fans (from the north, that is) can scratch LSU off of the list, as well as the legendary Coach Miles. It has to be mentioned that it will be a shame to not see Gary Pinkel coach against Miles in this game, but something like this could add to the “legacy” of Coach Odom very quickly.
Miles is going to attempt to drown Mizzou with the same strong points his teams have played with for years now; incredible speed and dominating aggressiveness on defense. His teams, particularly on defense, are intimidating based on sheer speed alone. His experience at home in a game against Odom leaves little doubt that the southern Tigers will be favored in this game, regardless of records at this point in the year.
New offensive coordinator Josh Heupel will have had some big games under his belt by this point, but this one may have him pulling his hair out. A strong offensive showing here could have him in line for OC of the year.
Jim McElwain, @Florida Gators, Oct. 15
Well, we certainly are more aware of what McElwain brings to the table after a strong showing in 2015. Critics will again stress that the SEC East was not very good, but to see where the team was from last year to this year was quite a feat of coaching for McElwain to have pulled off.
So what’s in store for the Tigers in this game? A smart coaching approach with a bed of talent that will be slightly more suited to his style. While others are letting down their guard with regard to Florida losing key players to the NFL, I’m sounding the alarm and saying that McElwain is going to show why he is now the best coach in the East. Another really tough game on the road for coach Odom that should look to build character among his staff.
Rick Stockstill, Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders, Oct. 22 (Homecoming)
Coach Stockstill is the longest-tenured coach that the Tigers will be facing in 2016. Stockstill has been at his post at the helm of the Blue Raider program since 2006, a run that saw him oversee the transition from the Sun Belt to Conference USA in 2013.
The scary thing about Stockstill for Mizzou is that he is a flat out winner. He’s guided his team to a second place divisional finish in each of the last three seasons. After ten seasons as coach, he’s finished lower than third place in the conference standings only twice. The consistency he has as a winner makes him one of the most underrated weapons in all of college football.
Older fans of college football may recognize Stockstill’s name. He was the quarterback for Florida State in 1980 under Bobby Bowden when the Seminoles went 10-1 and played No. 4 Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl, so his football I.Q. is through the roof.
Mark Stoops, Kentucky Wildcats, Oct. 29
Stoops has carried the family name well so far in the SEC. Although he hasn’t put together a championship-caliber season just yet, he has successfully changed the culture in Lexington and made Kentucky football fun again for the fans. But Coach Stoops will be eager to pounce on Odom’s Tigers early and try to get a big road win.
While Stoops has produced on the field, his production off the field may be more impressive. Hovering right around the top-25 in many recruiting rankings, the Wildcats have a lot of incoming talent that gives them reason to be excited about the future. Will it be enough to be excited after they play Mizzou? It’s likely that Mizzou is favored at home in this game, but if a young Kentucky team has it together by now, they could be threatening.
Will Muschamp, @South Carolina, Nov. 5
Ahh Coach Muschamp, how we hardly knew thee…
Only a season after being removed as head coach of the Florida Gators, the former defensive coordinator during the dominant days at Texas will be taking over for the latest Steve Spurrier train wreck in the other Columbia. Muschamp will try to build off of a disgruntled alumni base that is already seeing their top in-state guys practically dance single-file, cha-cha style, to the campus at Clemson.
Where Kentucky and Tennessee are clearly on the rise in 2016, South Carolina will be on the decline, clearly. Muschamp isn’t a bad coach and if given the proper amount of patience, I believe he can and will challenge for the East, but what he’s left with right now isn’t good. Good luck beating your non-conference teams.
Derek Mason, Vanderbilt Commodores, Nov. 12
Coach’s Mason’s shining moment of last season came against Mizzou. Making a call here, but I wouldn’t look for it to happen again in 2016, not even against a first year coach.
Even with Mizzou’s struggles last season, there’s no excuse for dropping the game to Vanderbilt. It was one of the worst-played games for Mizzou in several years, one in which they almost certainly off the record felt was a lost cause. Look for there to be more pride involved from the Tiger players this year, especially in front of a home crowd.
Butch Jones, @Tennessee Volunteers, Nov. 19
Jones is a guy who’s no stranger to Mizzou fans, someone who is seen as being on the upswing of a potential rise in Knoxville. It’s amazing to think that in his six most recent seasons as a head coach before taking over for the Vols in 2013, he has four conference championships.
He’s a proven guy, he’s getting the recruits, but it just hasn’t shown up on a field yet in a way that’s really proven anything to the fans. The fans are most certainly behind Jones, but it’s with a bucket of anticipation that everyone is sure will be cashed in on sooner than later.
Jones may not have been at Tennessee longer than Stockstill has been at Middle Tennessee, but Jones comes in as the coach Odom will face with the most experience, without question.
Bret Bielema, Arkansas Razorbacks, Nov. 26
The new rivalry that just can’t take off, and has Mizzou fans asking when KU boosters will get out of the schools’ way and let the athletes play already. Coach Bielema, who is unpredictable as far as the kind of team he brings to the table from year-to-year, is doing a decent job in playing the role of the rival team, at bare minimum.
If Arkansas isn’t challenging for the SEC West in this game, look for this game to be a hot-seat game for Bielema. But if he can come to Columbia and get the win, it will be another feather in the cap for a guy who really isn’t that impressive as a coach.