Another week in the books for the season, and another new low for the 2019 Mizzou football team.
This time, the Missouri Tigers were smacked around by the Kentucky Wildcats in Lexington, losing 29-7 to drop to 5-3 on the season and 2-2 in SEC play. The loss also drops the Tigers to third in the SEC East behind the Florida Gators and the Georgia Bulldogs.
In the loss, the Tigers’ offense showed very little signs of life, as quarterback Kelly Bryant passed for only 130 yards before leaving the game, and no running back reached 60 yards of rushing. Zero wide receivers decided to show up, as Jonathan Nance led that group with three receptions for a putrid 23 yards.
The only offensive player who decided to show up was back-up running back Tyler Badie, who averaged 5.2 yards per rush (but rushed just six times) and caught two passes for 82 yards, one of which went for 74 yards and six points.
This loss is Missouri’s second dud in as many weeks as they lost last weekend in Nashville to the lowly Vanderbilt Commodores, 21-14. After that loss, fans, already upset over Mizzou’s Week 1 loss to the Wyoming Cowboys, became increasingly agitated with the Tigers head coach, Barry Odom. Our site’s Leigh Oleszczak begged to differ, penning that firing Odom wouldn’t be the right move for the Missouri Tigers.
At the time, I agreed. But after yesterday’s loss… I’m starting to change my mind. The Tigers looked woefully inept against the Wildcats, a team that has completely owned the Tigers in recent years. Odom badly needed a bounce-back win before this weekend’s idle week and then a road game against Georgia and a home game versus Florida.
The Tigers then end the season with two very winnable games: hosting the Tennessee Volunteers and visiting the Arkansas Razorbacks. Depending on an appeal with the NCAA, the Tigers need just one more victory to get to six wins and bowl eligibility.
But that’s not good enough. That’s not even close to being good enough. This season, with such a weak schedule and with Bryant taking over at quarterback after transferring from Clemson, the Tigers were supposed to seriously compete for the SEC East title. Reaching 10 wins wasn’t out of the realm of possibility–it was almost expected.
What makes the loss to Kentucky sting even more is that, on Saturday, while Mizzou lost, both Kansas and Kansas State secured huge wins in their first season under new head coaches. One week after just losing to the Texas Longhorns, the Jayhawks edged the Texas Tech Red Raiders, 37-34, on an ending you have to see to believe. And in Manhattan, the Wildcats hung on to upend and upset the No. 5 Oklahoma Sooners, 48-41.
Look, when’s the last time the Missouri Tigers had a real coaching search? Probably before 2001 when they hired Gary Pinkel away from Toledo, who then led the team through the 2015 season. The university’s “search” for Pinkel’s replacement didn’t extend far as Odom was the team’s defensive coordinator. At the time, for reasons, didn’t look very hard outside of Columbia, and the result is a team that’s gone 24-22 since 2016.
Now is the time to amend that error. Now is the time for athletic director Jim Sterk (who didn’t hire Odom) to fix his predecessor’s mistake and conduct a true, nation-wide search for a head coach to lead one of the 14 schools in the Southeastern Conference.
Luckily, on the following two pages, I share six names that would be great for the gig.