It may be easier to answer how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop, than how many wins Missouri football coach Barry Odom needs to keep his job.
Since taking over as the head coach at Missouri, fans do not find Odom’s record endearing. The second-year head coach has amassed a losing record of 5-13, and – but – the season isn’t over, yet.
Naturally, there are those who favor the beleaguered head coach getting a third year; some also say let him finish out this year, and see where the chips lie, and a third faction wants him gone three weeks ago.
I am no longer among those who say that Odom should be gone three weeks ago; not by choice, so much, as by obligation. The thing is, Odom isn’t going anywhere, at least until the season ends, then there may be a chance. So, why bother banging my head against the wall screaming for something that we all know, under Athletic Director Jim Sterk, probably won’t happen immediately.
Missouri Tigers Football
When Missouri lost to Purdue, I thought for sure, that Odom was as good as gone. There’s simply no way that a team can start hot in its first week, then show some fight against South Carolina the next, and then almost lay down against a non-conference opponent in Purdue.
SEC teams are touted as being crème de la crème – that is, the best of the best. With all due respect to Purdue, which played four solid quarters of football, SEC teams just don’t (typically) lose to teams in other conferences.
Being it was also the beginning of the season, the only thing we had to judge Purdue’s ability on, was its 3-9 record from last year. So, it stood to reason, that the Tigers should make a competitive game, but come away with the “W.”
The following week, Missouri lost to Auburn in a game which felt like the (Columbia) Tigers never played competitively, and pretty much laid down for the loss. Following that performance, Odom gave a fiery diatribe that left many of us wondering where this season was headed.
Once again, there were factions. Either the team would come out of the bye week fighting, or nothing would have changed, and they would either do as bad or worse.
When Missouri returned to the field in a post-bye game on the road at Kentucky, the Tigers played their best game of the season, albeit a loss. Mizzou put four touchdowns on the board, and kept Kentucky on its heels for most of the game.
I have to wonder, if the officials hadn’t, quite literally, ruined Missouri’s chance of winning the game with about 10 seconds left, would we have seen a consecutive full game from the Tigers at Georgia?
It’s not to say that Mizzou would have beaten the Bulldogs – Georgia was, and is, a superior team to the Tigers, but maybe a win in Lexington would have built more confidence in a team that has lacked it, especially in conference play. Instead of falling apart in the second half, maybe the Odom-coached Tigers would have made more confident decisions in Athens.
Against Georgia, the Tigers played a strong first half, which I really didn’t expect from Missouri. I also fully expected Georgia to make adjustments in the first half and shut the Tigers down for the rest of the game, but Missouri seemed to have an answer for every Bulldog touchdown, until the second half.
This week is homecoming, for Missouri. The event started in Columbia, well over 100 years ago, and is still proclaimed to be the best event in the country. The Tigers will play host to Idaho, and Odom needs more time to turn this team around. How many wins does he need to accomplish a turnaround? Despite the uncertainty, Odom hasn’t quit on his team.