The Missouri Tigers are in their annual ‘must win now’ portion of the season under head coach Barry Odom, after dropping their fourth conference game of the year.
Looking back on Mizzou’s season, the Tigers could have fared better in a couple games – games which, for all intents and purposes, could have ended as wins. Those two losses that I’d love to exchange for wins would be last week’s meltdown against Kentucky, and their week five loss at South Carolina.
Without a doubt, those were two games in which the Tigers had their best chance of winning, which was squandered away by penalties, bad officiating, poor execution, and bonehead play calling.
This week, Mizzou (4-4, 0-4 SEC) travels to No. 13 Florida, in hopes of gaining its first conference win of the season. Florida, a team which Missouri handled easily in 2017, has a new look about it, and will look to make the Tigers’ day miserable.
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Florida will challenge Missouri any way it can. While the Gators obviously aren’t the best the Tigers have played this season, Florida has two quality wins over No. 4 LSU, No. 21 Mississippi State, and a win over Vanderbilt.
Missouri has not offered any official word on wide receiver Emanuel Hall. The most recent update is he has returned to the depth chart and has been taking reps with the team in practice. While I’d love to see his return to action for the Tigers, there’s still no timetable for that.
According to Alex Schiffer of The Kansas City Star, The Tigers may also be without tight end Kendall Blanton, who is still recovering from a knee sprain.
So far, this coaching staff has shown it can’t win against ranked opponents. Odom has brought his team to within spitting distance of beating ranked opponents, yes, but something inexplicable always seems to derail the Tigers’ efforts.
While I’m not sure if this coaching staff is capable of leading Missouri to a win over Florida, this is what we have. Clearly, if Athletic Director Jim Sterk plans to make any changes, it will not be until after the season ends.
If Odom’s team can win-out the remainder of the season, and he leads the Tigers to an 8-5 record and a bowl win, then it will be interesting to see where the chips fall with Odom’s future. There’s only one who has the official authority to affect that change.
One other thing – probably more of a rant – while I have enjoyed the uniform variations Mizzou has provided us over the last couple of seasons, maybe it’s time for the weekly uniform and helmet combination presentations to take a back seat and return to what matters more than the uniform design: Winning on the field. Great programs aren’t built on snazzy uniform combos.
Now granted, the coaching staff isn’t – shouldn’t be, anyway – hanging out and picking uniform combinations instead of preparing its team to play, but if they can’t put a winning product on the field and build a winning culture, then it really doesn’t matter how you dress the team.
It’s rally time for Missouri. I don’t want to see the Tigers win for Odom’s job – I want to see them win, because they have the talent and ability to play well and win. Without a doubt, many will play to win for the future of the beleaguered head coach – play for honor. Despite being 4-4, while fleeting, the season isn’t quite a wash for Missouri. The Tigers’ bid for a bowl game is still alive.