Another week, another dope hype video:
So Fresh and So Clean, Clean:
In true Black Friday fashion...
BONUS AGAIN! Basketball plays today too:
What the “experts” are saying:
- In his weekly previews, Bill pointed out that Arkansas can still run the ball and played a good defensive game last week, despite having a not-great defense.
- The folks over at Arkansas Fight are picking the hogs against the spread by a 2 to 1 margin, but none of them sound too confident about the actual game.
- Aaron Reiss - one of my favorite new writers on the Mizzou beat by the way - is picking a big Mizzou win.
- ESPN is picking Mizzou over Arkansas, but they liked how Arky looked last week.
- Saturday Down South makes this game sound like it’ll be a romp for both sides, but I think they’re picking Mizzou to win? Never mind, another writer is picking the good guys by 3 scores.
1. The turnaround - in many senses of the word - is complete. Mizzou is going bowling, y'all. Let's take a moment to revel in this. Pick your favorite thing about this crazy season. Hell, gimme two if you're so inclined.
Chris Bohkay - In a season so full of good and bad, I'd say my favorite thing was the Brandon Lee pick six, because it was at that moment that I knew we were going bowling. And while it won't be a spectacular bowl, it's still post season Mizzou football and a hopeful turning of the page to a new narrative about what Mizzou football is.
Mitch Hill - My favorite thing was probably Anthony Sherrils playing his best football in a Mizzou Uniform in this final stretch. He has been someone who a lot of people have expected to play like this, and it's been fun to see it finally pay off for him. I would also say watching the young talent on the team grow throughout the year. It sets up for something nice in the future.
switzy227 - Being there for the UConn game was the best for me. Walking from our cars to the stadium, I was truly concerned that we might be in for a nightmare, but Lock and company did (almost) everything right. After that game, I felt a lot more confident. The next best thing has been the public acknowledgement of Ish Witter. I've been an Ish apologist since he took the field for the Tigers and seeing him succeed to this level has been excellent. He seems like another great guy emerging from the Mizzou program. Probably not in for a professional football career, but hopefully a big success in whatever is next.
AlaTiger - Watching a star being born with the emergence of Albert Okwuegbunam is probably number one. Tying Jeremy Maclin's freshman record with two games to go? That's mighty promising and a ton of fun to watch. A close second is the revitalization of the defense from the horrid depths of September to something at least middling now. While the full season numbers are still pretty bad, it would be interesting to see S&P+ for the defense post bye week and/or for the winning streak.
dcrockett17 - My favorite two things (tied) are the development of Albert Okwuegbunam and the offensive line.
Josh Matejka - Before the year started, I wrote an article about what J’Mon Moore had to do to be considered an all-time Mizzou great. And, in my humble opinion, he’s done it. He was one of the lone bright spots on a rough team last year, and he’s been the steady hand amongst a great receiving corps this year. He got a lot of flack for standing up for what he believed in during the 2015 protests, so I’m sure there will always be people that carry some sort of grudge against him. But he’s quietly been one of the best pass-catchers to ever come through Ole Mizzou. And for that, I’m grateful.
I’m also happy to see the players - and fans - starting to believe in Barry Odom. I don’t think there’s any rational Mizzou fan who wants to see him fail. We’re all still stinging from the “TRUE SON” cynicism of Kim Anderson, and Odom working out would be a nice salve for that. Plus, he’s a charismatic dude. Here’s to hoping he’s growing even more next year.
2. Barry Odom isn't going to win SEC Coach of the Year, but he's done some kind of job this year. Tell us what you've seen that convinces you he's the guy moving forward. Or if you're still not there, what do you need to see the rest of this season and next?
Chris Bohkay - I'm on the “still not there” bandwagon, because frankly, there aren't many coaches that you know in year two that this is the guy. After year two with Gary P, the Tigers still weren't bowling, but they had Brad Smith and were showing signs of life against the better teams in the conference (thinking OU, CU and the Nubs) which is the one thing that we haven't seen from Odom. How Odom and Co. handle the rest of this recruiting cycle and the stretch of at Purdue, v. Georgia, at SC, and at Bama should give us an idea of what we have. But hey, bowl game in season 2 that looked completely lost in October is still progress. AND I WANT TO BELIEVE IN BARRY!
Mitch Hill - The team was 1-5 and now they are 6-5. After the Purdue and Auburn game the feel was that this team quit on Odom and the season... BUT here we are. They didn't and they never stopped fighting for their coach and for their season. Not many coaches can still convince their team that the season is not over and there is still so much to play for, Odom did just that and it's through watching how the team has responded to him that makes me know he is the guy going forward.
switzy227 - I do believe in HCBO, but there is more I'd like to see. Specifically, consistency. Win streaks are spectacular, but aren't always going to be available. Can he make this program into one that competes hard in losses (instead of suffering Purdue-like efforts), challenges the better teams in the league, and returns to the position of expecting that bowl game every single season. For extra credit, I'd like to see some clarity on the defensive coordinator front, even if that's just publicly acknowledging that he's handling it himself from now on.
AlaTiger - He certainly appears to be on the right track now. I'd like to see a team that plays like it means it with everyone on the same page from the start of the season next year to confirm it. As switzy said, consistency is key.
dcrockett17 - I want to stay away from declaring anything about Odom. I'm definitely a supporter and hope he does well. I just don't know precisely why we saw so much turmoil (and ultimately turnover) on his coaching staff. To be fair, we're all probably more than a little spoiled by the uncommonly stable staff we had during the Pinkel era. Most of the time it takes a few firings to find the right mix of coaches, all of whom might be good individually, to work together as a unit. Still, we saw outright dysfunction including multiple (credible) rumors of altercations with players. My hope is that Odom has learned whatever lessons needed to be learned.
Josh Matejka - Is it possible to think he needs an extension and still say he has work to do? Why not? He needs another 2 years on his deal to shore up recruiting trust, but Barry Odom still has some things to do next year before he gets my full trust. Namely, let’s not start in a 4-loss hole next time around.
3. The bowl game isn't here yet. It's Arkansas week, baby. The hogs are basically playing for pride at this point seeing as they're about to get their coach fired. But pride can go a long way. How do you feel about tomorrow's game, and what does Mizzou need to do to win?
Chris Bohkay - It's a road game in an SEC stadium and the players that do love Coach Kool Aid will be playing their hearts out , as LSU's players did for Les two years ago. So that game makes me a little nervous. But Mizzou has looked really strong against the weaker part of the schedule, so I'm cautiously optimistic that we get to that 8-5 with the bowl game that J'Mon mentioned.
Mitch Hill - I think Mizzou needs to do what they do best. Score. A lot. The defense has been into that whole "create turnovers" thing lately and that has been nice to see again, but this team is at its best when the offense is running the ball deep when they catch the defense creeping up. Score a lot, and Mizzou wins. The last thing you want to do is come out flat against a team trying to "win one for their coach." Come out fast and just go ahead and let Arkansas know there will be no wins for pride today.
switzy227 - I feel good about Mizzou in this one, because why not? I do think they'll need to come strong against the run and keep giving Lock some rushing chances. And, obviously, it would help if Emmanuel Hall would catch the passes that come his way.
AlaTiger - Best Mizzou is better than best Arkansas, so I suggest that best Mizzou shows up so Arkansas' collective state of mind doesn't matter. Best Mizzou includes establishing a running game, Emanuel Hall catching passes, no silly penalties, and the defensive effort from the last several weeks among others.
dcrockett17 - The players seem to be saying all the right things about wanting to finish strong heading into a bowl. That's good. In terms of Xs and Os I anticipate that Arkansas will do a bit of attacking on offense with the TE on intermediate routes (having watched Vandy in the 2nd half). I'm very interested to see how Mizzou's defense responds. Additionally, the offense was pretty inefficient last week. Vandy stacked the box, plugged running lanes, and dared Mizzou to win with long throws into short windows. It wasn't always pretty, but Lock and the receivers made enough big plays to beat back the 'Dores. I have no idea whether the Hogs would commit to single covering the WRs all game like that. I've not seen much Arkansas, but their defense doesn't appear to be impressive just glancing at their scores.
Josh Matejka - I’m feeling good, not great. I’m afraid of the post-bowl-eligibility let down, and Arkansas players will want to send Big Baby Bert out on a high note. Does that mean I think Mizzou is going to lose? No, but I also don’t think it’s going to be a romp like the past few weeks. But ultimately, I think the players’ hunger for 8 wins takes them through.
4. PICK 'EM
Chris Bohkay - Mizzou 52 - Arkansas 31. Let's feast on the leftovers!
Mitch Hill - Mizzou 49 Arkansas 27. Late Touchdown for Arkansas pushes that score over 20.
switzy227 - Mizzou keeps it rolling 41-21
AlaTiger - Mizzou 48-24
Josh Matejka - Tigers, fierce and good: 48
Hogs, dirty and sad: 35
Thanks to all of y’all who read pregamin’ this year and put up with my bad to middling photoshops. It’s been a lot of fun to carry on Jack’s legacy.
But never fear! Pregamin’ will be back for the bowl game...