We have seen our share of disappointing Mizzou football games. We have had our hearts broken consistently with under-performing teams, knucklehead coaching decisions, and brutal officiating decisions. Rarely do all three come up to bite the Tigers in the ass at the exact same time.
The game Saturday was about changing the national narrative for the Tigers. Barry Odom was going to win only his second game against a team we think will be bowl eligible at the end of the year. Mizzou was going to be 4-1, winning two games on the road against Power Five teams and showing they had a real chance to win eight or nine games. Drew Lock was finally going to lead his team to a defining SEC victory, putting his foot on the throat of an opponent and closing out a must win game. The defense was going to make key plays and stop a future first round pick in Deebo Samuel and take advantage of a backup Senior QB.
Then the Rains of Columbia fell, the third quarter happened, and the entire narrative changed. Mizzou has now gone from a team that could have been ranked to a team fighting to stay above .500. Barry Odom has gone from a coach that led the rebuild to a coach that could once again be fighting for his job come end of November. Drew Lock has gone from a Heisman candidate to a player that cannot lead his team to victory. #DLineZou is not coming back.
Mizzou has a much tougher remaining schedule than 2017. Replace Connecticut with Memphis. Kentucky and Florida have both beaten top 15 teams this year and are top 25 talents. Arkansas just hung 31 on Alabama (Good teams win. Great teams cover). Sure, Tennessee is a dumpster fire and Vanderbilt is still Vanderbilt, but do you have enough confidence in this team to not choke those games away as well?
This brings us to the toughest game Mizzou has played under Barry Odom, a trip to Tuscaloosa to face the best player in college football, the best coach in college football, and the best team in college football. No one in their right mind expects Mizzou to come close to winning this game. Hell, I bet if you gave Barry Odom some truth serum, he would even say they do not stand a chance against the football powerhouse. Alabama is beating opponents by an average of 40 points in 2018. Mizzou is allowing 32.5 points per game. We do not need to go into the X’s and O’s for a game that has Mizzou listed as a 28 ½ point dog.
Rather than asking can Mizzou win against Alabama this week, we should be asking a different question. Who left on the schedule can we be assured Mizzou will beat? Can they get to six wins and become bowl eligible in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2013-2014? The Alabama game will not tell us much, but how the players respond to a beat down may…