Whether it’s making bowl appearances in consecutive seasons, program stability, or talent, the Missouri football program has much to be thankful for.
As the Tigers prepare to host the Arkansas Razorbacks in their final home game of the season, Mizzou finds itself living a little more off the “fat” of its season than a year ago. The Tigers won their sixth game two weeks ago on the road at Vanderbilt, amid what has become a three-game win streak.
On that note, I am thankful for the talented roster head coach Barry Odom has both assembled and maintained from the Tigers’ previous regime under former head coach Gary Pinkel. I’m also thankful for the down-to-earth, gritty persona Odom presents, unlike some head coaches.
Since Odom assumed the head coaching role at Missouri, he has met his share of adversity, from the program’s inner turmoil, to fans and media alike, questioning his coaching abilities and calling for his job.
Whether you like him – his coaching style, or not, Odom has shown us a couple things, at the very least, in his short tenure as the Tigers’ head coach: Improvement and a sense of stability.
Odom was handed the reins of a 5-7 Tigers team in December, 2015. The Tigers finished 1-7 in conference play that year, but Odom was tasked with rebuilding the program. In 2016, the Tigers finished 4-8, but since that season, Missouri has finished above .500, and will make its second consecutive bowl appearance under Odom in three seasons.
While watching the defensive secondary for most of the season has been painful, the Tigers’ secondary has made some clutch plays when the opportunity allowed, and at times when Mizzou needed a momentum shift. Dare I say, perhaps the secondary has grown? Playing off of that, I am thankful for DeMarkus Acy’s trio of interceptions – two against Tennessee.
Seemingly hated by many opposing SEC fan bases, and for trivial reasons related mainly to geography, I am thankful the Tigers are in the SEC. It gives many more opportunities to see Mizzou play in a variety of sporting events, than if it was in the Big 12.
As an alum of a Big 10 school, I’d have also loved to see the Tigers become a conference member – it would have made more sense geographically – but despite its critics, Missouri has proven quite the spirited competitor to the chagrin of its SEC counterparts.
Finally, I’m thankful for my experience, albeit shorter than some, as a Mizzou fan. I’ve experienced some of the highs and lows, from recruiting wins, major losses to injury, and everything in between such as program “curses,” to mind-numbing last-second losses, and blowout victories.