"Frodo: I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened. Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."
None but the most delusional Mizzou fans expected the team to outright win the SEC East without some monumental breaks. But even the most level-headed of us never expected the everything-but-a-plague-of-locusts season this has turned out to be.
Saturday was one of those days in college football -- and really, in all sports -- that puts such seasons in perspective. It reminds us of how much our hearts can soar and how much they can ache within mere minutes. Watching James Franklin slowly come to terms with the QB he is right now rather than the guy he was last year, to gut out a tough road win, makes my heart leap for a kid who deserves to have good things come his way. Then a few moments later, watching "Johnny Football" run around and make plays Texas A&M's monumental upset*, my heart felt a bit like Frodo's must have in that cave. I wish we didn't have a season so damaged by injury, and that our guy was making plays like he is capable. But so do all who lives to see such times, yes? Who are we that the rain should fall on the Aggies rather than us?
*All raise a glass to Beergut!
So, in the spirit of deciding what to do with the time that is given me I submit the following two post-game thoughts.
1. I am going to enjoy the guys whose MU careers are coming to an end. I can't believe Kendial Lawrence is a bloody senior, with just two regular season games left in his career. But what a senior season it has turned out to be! He was absolutely the spark on Saturday and really seems to be putting it all together. In the next couple games (and hopefully a bowl game) I'm going to be cheering like crazy for that guy. Marcus Murphy and Russell Hansborough need their touches too, but when KLaw is on the field I'm going to do my best to soak it all in.
2. I want to enjoy the offensive line's improvement. That group has gone through trial by fire. Beating Tennessee after trailing or being tied for the whole game is no guarantee that the trial is over, but it's just cool to see a group that has worked so hard to get better see some of the fruits of their labor.
Bonus thought. This looked like the WR group I expected to see this season. I suppose it doesn't matter where they've been, as long as they're back now. As they say in baseball, "Two out ain't too late."