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Countdown: Missouri Football (1920-2010): #85-81

With the explosion of, uh, content yesterday afternoon, I guess I really didn't need to start this series until today.  Anyway, let's keep plowing through the dregs so we can get to the good teams...


#85: Mizzou 1932 (1-7-1)

Best Win: A 14-6 victory over a .500 Oklahoma team.
Worst Loss: That would have to be their then-record 65-0 loss to Texas.

Congrats to Frank Carideo for managing to get one of his teams out of Mizzou's bottom five, though I'm not sure how they did it.  This was every bit as brutal a team as any others on the list.  They ranked 91st among 121 teams in offense and 117th in defense, and they offered no early hope that Carideo knew what he was doing.

They did, however, win a game -- one of Carideo's career total of two.  That is certainly notable.  The problem, of course, is that in the eight games they didn't win, Mizzou scored all of 18 points ... and gave up 178.  178!  They didn't score a touchdown on the season until October 29, and ... well, just think about what a 65-0 loss meant those days, when teams weren't exactly scoring 30 points per game ... or even maybe 20 points.  This may have been the least bad team of the Carideo era ... but they were still all sorts of terrible.

#84: Mizzou 1989 (2-9)

Best Win: A 14-10 win over a soon-to-be 4-7 TCU squad.
Worst Loss: For magnitude, go with the 50-7 loss to Nebraska. For painful, go with the 46-44 loss to Kansas.

This team never had a chance.  Even if they showed solid improvement in Bob Stull's first season in Columbia, it probably wouldn't show because of the schedule.  From September 23 to October 14, Mizzou played four teams that would finish with a combined 38-8-1 record.  They played #2 Miami, then Arizona State (which finished 6-4-1), then #3 Colorado, then #4 Nebraska.  They lost those games by a combined 156-20, bounced back to knock out one of the worst Kansas State squads of all-time, lost a 31-30 squeaker to Oklahoma State ... and then ran out of gas.  They were drubbed by Oklahoma and Iowa State and lost a heart-breaker to Kansas, and when they looked up, they had been outscored 363-171 for the season.

This wasn't a straight-up terrible team, at least not in comparison to the first (last?) six teams on this list, but they certainly weren't good.  They ranked 87th in offense and 76th in defense overall, and while having to play Miami on top of CU and NU was a bit cruel, it's not like this team was going to make some noise even with a cake schedule.

#83: Mizzou 1931 (2-8)

Best Win: 32-20 at Drake.
Worst Loss: 31-6 at SLU.

We talk a lot about the dark ages of the late-1980s and early-1990s, but it's worth noting that the true dark ages for the Mizzou program were the first half of the 1930s.  After producing some strong campaigns in the 1920s, Gwinn Henry's magic ran out in his final two seasons in Columbia, and his last squad was his worst.  They beat 5-6 Drake (32-20) and 4-7-1 Oklahoma (7-0), and were outscored 173-33 in their eight losses.  They lost tight games to 5-3 Colorado and 8-2 Nebraska early on, but the back half of the schedule was brutal.  They lost 14-0 to Kansas, 38-6 to Temple (!), and 31-6 to SLU to end Henry's tenure with a whimper.  But hey, those stripes on the jerseys were pretty sharp, weren't they?

#82: Mizzou 1951 (3-8)

Best Win: Mizzou 27, Oklahoma State (3-7) 26
Worst Loss: Kansas State (1-7-1) 14, Mizzou 12

Iffy chemistry led to problems on Don Faurot's first post-war squad in 1946, but with the likes of Bus Entsminger leading the way, Mizzou bounced back in the late-1940s.  They ranked 27th (according to my Estimated S&P+ figure) in 1948 (including the great upset over SMU) and 23rd in 1949 (they went 0-2 against Faurot's war-time proteges -- Oklahoma's Bud Wilkinson and Maryland's Jim Tatum -- and 7-2 against everybody else), but the talent quickly began to dry up.  Mizzou fell to 4-5-1 in 1950 (ranking 55th), then plummeted in 1951.  Mizzou's two wins came against OSU and Nebraska teams that combined for a 4-14-2 record, they lost squeakers to other bad teams (14-12 to K-State, 21-14 to Iowa State), and got their clocks cleaned by good teams (35-0 to #4 Maryland, 34-20 to 8-win Oklahoma, 34-13 to 7-win Colorado, 41-28 to 8-win Kansas).  Faurot's teams were always tough and smart ... but they just weren't athletic enough for the changing football landscape in the early-'50s.

#81: Mizzou 1986 (3-8)

Best Win: 48-0 over Kansas, the week after...
Worst Loss: 77-0 to Oklahoma.

It's certainly no coincidence that four of today's five teams (and seven of the bottom ten) came from the first half of the 1930s and the second half of the 1980s.  The 1986 team, Woody Widenhofer's second in Columbia, was ... well ... at the very least an improvement over the first one.  They won two conference games (double what they won in 1985!) and were technically 11 points from six wins (they had three tight losses to 5-6 Texas, 6-6 Colorado and 6-5 Oklahoma State).  But let's not mistake "sometimes competitive" with "almost good."  They lost by 17 to Indiana, 23 to Iowa State, 31 to Nebraska, 32 to Syracuse ... and 77 to Oklahoma.  Oh, that Oklahoma game.  A buddy of mine was at that game and said he developed a violent, reflexive reaction to "Boomer Sooner" after hearing it so many times that day.  Seriously, don't even pretend to sing it around him because he might black out and punch you in the face.

That said, without the 77-0 loss to OU, Mizzou wouldn't have been able to experience a staggering, 125-point turnaround when they crushed Kansas, 48-0, the next week.  So there's that.