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Where do Missouri's recent football performances rank in school history?

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With Signing Day barely more than a week away, we're talking a lot about Missouri's future. I thought it would be fun, however, to take a brief look at the past, too.

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Missouri has gone 23-5 over the last two seasons and has won at least 10 games five times in eight years. That's fantastic, and it has made Gary Pinkel Mizzou's winningest head coach. But with more games, different non-conference scheduling philosophies, and different conferences, it's hard to compare the current Mizzou run to previous ones with the simple eye test.

I've used my own Estimated S&P+ numbers for exercises like this before, but with my own numbers currently undergoing a pretty hefty redesign, I thought I'd compare Mizzou's current run to others in the school's history using the Simple Rating System (SRS) measure from Sports Reference. It is a wonderful site and a perfectly sound number, so let's see what it tells us.

Best seasons

Source: The Savitar

Rk Season Coach Record AP finish SRS rating
1 1969 Dan Devine 9-2 6th 23.7
2 1960 Dan Devine 11-0 5th 21.9
3 2013 Gary Pinkel 12-2 5th 20.0
4 1968 Dan Devine 8-3 9th 18.9
5 1941 Don Faurot 8-2 9th 18.9
6 1973 Al Onofrio 8-4 17th 17.1
7 2007 Gary Pinkel 12-2 4th 16.8
8 1965 Dan Devine 8-2-1 6th 16.0
9 1980 Warren Powers 8-4 15.8
10 1978 Warren Powers 8-4 15th 15.3
13 2010 Gary Pinkel 10-3 18th 14.0
17 2008 Gary Pinkel 10-4 19th 13.1
20 2014 Gary Pinkel 11-3 14th 12.0

The 2014 squad was Missouri's 20th best and Gary Pinkel's fifth. Pinkel has five of the top 20 teams, Dan Devine has six (1960, 1962, 1965, 1968, 1969, 1970), Don Faurot has three (1939, 1941, 1948), Al Onofrio has three (1973, 1975, 1976), Warren Powers has two (1978, 1980), and Larry Smith has one (1998).

Individual seasons are great, but let's take a look at clusters of time, too.

Best two-year spans

Source: The Savitar

1. 1968-69 (Coach: Dan Devine, Record: 17-5, SRS: 21.3)
2. 1969-70 (Devine, 14-8, 18.3)
3. 1960-61 (Devine, 17-3-1, 16.3)
4. 2013-14 (Gary Pinkel, 23-5, 16.0)
5. 2007-08 (Pinkel, 22-6, 14.9)
6. 1975-76 (Al Onofrio, 12-10, 14.4)
7. 1959-60 (Devine, 16-6, 14.4)
8. 1973-74 (Onofrio, 15-8, 13.8)
9. 1941-42 (Don Faurot, 16-5-1, 13.8)
10. 1980-81 (Warren Powers, 16-8, 13.6)

Missouri went just 5-6 in 1970 (against a scheduled that featured four top-20 teams and Oklahoma), Dan Devine's last season, but 1969 was so good that it drove the 1969-70 to a surprising No. 2 on the list. Meanwhile, No. 6 on the list is pretty funny. In 1975-76, Mizzou played five top-10 teams and 13 ranked teams; the Tigers went 3-2 against the top-10 teams, 7-6 against the ranked teams, and just 5-4 against unranked teams. Those two squads were the epitome of the funky 1970s, with absurd SOS numbers, enormous wins, and silly, silly losses.

Best five-year spans

Source: The Savitar

1. 1965-69 (Coach: Dan Devine, Record: 38-13-2, SRS: 14.2)
2. 1960-64 (Devine, 38-10-4, 13.6)
3. 1966-70 (Devine, 35-17-1, 13.6)
4. 1973-77 (Al Onofrio, 31-25, 13.1)
5. 1976-80 (Onofrio, 33-25, 13.0)
6. 1959-63 (Devine, 38-12-3, 13.0)
7. 1972-76 (Onofrio, 33-24, 12.9)
8. 1974-78 (Onofrio/Warren Powers, 31-25, 12.7)
9. 1975-79 (Onofrio/Powers, 31-26, 12.7)
10. 2010-14 (Gary Pinkel, 46-20, 12.5)

Here's where Pinkel has lagged. Because of the 2009 and 2012 seasons in particular, Mizzou has not yet had a dominant five-year span without a glitch. This is where Dan Devine's tenure stands out. He was responsible for the top three five-year periods on the list, plus four of the top six. Meanwhile, I can't figure out if Al Onofrio is overrated or underrated. Can you be both?

Best decades

Source: The Savitar

1. 1960-69 (13.9)
2. 1961-70 (13.0)
3. 1972-81 (12.6)
4. 1968-77 (12.6)
5. 1967-76 (12.5)
6. 1969-78 (12.3)
7. 1959-68 (12.2)
8. 1973-82 (12.2)
9. 1962-71 (11.7)
10. 1965-74 (11.7)
18. 2005-14 (10.9)

Gary Pinkel has had an SRS rating below 5.0 five times in 14 seasons: 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, and 2009. The Pinkel Era basically began in 2006, then, and with a decent 2015 campaign, he could place a decade in the top 10 here. For now, though, Mizzou's history still belongs to Dan Devine.

SOS

One final note: Sports Reference also includes a strength of schedule measure. Here are Mizzou's 10 toughest schedules:

1. 1976 (Coach: Al Onofrio, SOS: 13.9, Record: 6-5)
2. 1970 (Dan Devine, 12.7, 5-6)
3. 1975 (Onofrio, 12.6, 6-5)
4. 1971 (Onofrio, 11.7, 1-10)
5. 1973 (Onofrio, 11.2, 8-4)
6. 1972 (Onofrio, 11.2, 6-6)
7. 1969 (Devine, 11.1, 9-2)
8. 1974 (Onofrio, 9.9, 7-4)
9. 1978 (Warren Powers, 9.6, 8-4)
10. 2012 (Gary Pinkel, 9.1, 5-7)

As I redesign my own numbers, it appears that 2012 team might end up with the No. 1 SOS in FBS. And it paled in comparison to those death-wish Onofrio teams.