Mizzou Links, 11-17-13: WORST. BYE WEEK SATURDAY. EVER.

Scott Cunningham

1. That suuuuuuuuuuucked

CBS Sports: 1 play, 2 divisions: Auburn miracle could shape both SEC races

The two most unlikely wins in the SEC this season? That one at Faurot Field for South Carolina, and Auburn's Saturday. Both were devastating for Missouri.

The worst part? He almost didn't see it. Ricardo Louis knew that two Georgia defenders had converged on the ball, and while his momentum was carrying him forward, he had to know that all was lost. He was looking around for the ball just in case, but it almost certainly wasn't going to show up in his peripheral vision. And when it did, he almost casually stuck his left hand out. Why the hell not, right? Only, the ball stuck. And in just a couple of seconds, Missouri's chances of winning the SEC East had gone from 87 percent to 51 percent.

And then, of course, just to rub some salt around in that open wound, Florida decided not to get smoked by South Carolina, opting instead to take a 14-6 lead into the fourth quarter before faltering as everyone knew they would. A few heartbeats from 87 percent, Mizzou's bye week Saturday finished with Mizzou's East odds at 41 percent.

As devastating as Saturday's results were for Mizzou's overall East chances, the bottom line is that Missouri still controls its destiny.  We were a desperation heave-and-deflection away from the Tigers needing only to split the last two games. Hell, we were one lucky Florida score away from having the whole thing locked up by the end of the night. Instead, Gary Pinkel's Tigers have to go it alone. And they can. You know what my numbers say; the F/+ win probabilities, which have undersold Missouri in five of six SEC games, say Mizzou has at least a 60 percent chance of winning both games. Yesterday's temporary pity party (and oh yeah, I was in serious pity party mode) could indeed end up only temporary.

Mizzou sought only a little bit of help yesterday and didn't get it. And now the Tigers go about proving they didn't need any help anyway.

Mizzou sought only a little bit of help yesterday and didn't get it. And now the Tigers go about proving they didn't need any help anyway.

2. Bye week conversation topics

The Trib (Behind the Stripes): Let's Go Bowling: How SEC bowl selections have shaken out in the recent past

Go to the SEC title game and lose, you're probably not looking at the BCS: As unfair as that might sound. If South Carolina, Auburn and Texas A&M all finish 9-3 and Missouri's sitting there 11-2, then maybe the Sugar Bowl would be in the offing. Other than that, not looking good. [...]

Have a geographical tie: Missouri can't really boast that with anyone but the Cotton Bowl. And, if the Cotton Bowl wants Missouri, it has to let the Outback Bowl have first crack at the East before it gets a turn. So, say South Carolina goes to the BCS, then the Outback would most likely pick Missouri over Georgia. But hey, if the Outback digs the Bulldogs' vibe, Missouri would probably have a good chance at the Cotton, with the Chick-fil-A being left with maybe LSU, Ole Miss or somebody.

The Trib: Even with Franklin back, Mauk will still get snaps
KC Star: Missouri’s defense has forced turnovers in 40 consecutive games
Post-Dispatch (Bernie): Pinkel went to work to help fix MU

I guess I have a different take on this.

I don’t think Pinkel has changed all that much.

Pinkel is being Pinkel. […]

With two important regular-season games to go — at Mississippi, then home against Texas A&M — it’s premature to declare that this is Pinkel’s best team during his 13 seasons at Missouri. But it’s fair to say that this group is in contention. A ferocious, disruptive defense is the X factor that could separate this Mizzou team from all other Pinkel MU teams.

Pinkel likes to say that he’s only surprised by others being surprised by Mizzou’s success. At the end of a troubled 2012, Pinkel insisted that he’d built something to last at Mizzou. His confidence was unshaken.

"I never questioned our program," Pinkel said earlier this season. "Our program’s good. I know a lot of people have (questioned it). I have no animosity toward that. I just want to be respected — and you’ve got to earn it. We’re doing that."

You see, that’s the Don James talking in Pinkel.

Identify the problem. Correct it. Don’t cry about a lack of respect. Go earn respect. Get it done. Be a leader. Dig in. And most of all: Coach.

Post-Dispatch: Capital One, Outback, Cotton talk Tigers
Fox Sports MW: 10 memorable moments from Mizzou's first 10 games

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