Perhaps, we’ve always been this way, but as technology has improved we’ve gotten more and more impatient as people. I remember as a kid, when my mom came home with our first computer. That thing was probably powered by a hamster wheel, but it was ours and it connected us to the rest of the world so I didn’t care.
Those were simple times. Now if my YouTube video doesn’t load up instantly, I’m about ready to throw my phone across the room. Don’t let Netflix buffer during the middle of an important scene—I might call Spectrum and cancel my cable service immediately (yes, I’m one of the few dinosaurs that still subscribes to cable). We don’t wait for anything anymore. We want everything fast and instantly.
Sports rarely work that way. Granted, I’m in the same boat as many of you. This Missouri season was incredibly frustrating to watch early on, and I maybe possibly have myself been guilty:
If Barry Odom can't coach the defense, what exactly can he do? THAT'S WHY THEY HIRED HIM.— Carrington Harrison (@cdotharrison) September 16, 2017
I wish Barry Odom leaves at halftime like Bud Kilmer.— Carrington Harrison (@cdotharrison) September 16, 2017
Ok. Alright. Chalk it up to me being a fan. But suddenly, miraculously, something has changed with Mizzou football. Maybe it was the schedule opening up, or the bye week coming at the right time, or the return of AJ Logan, but there is suddenly hope for this team.
This is what we expected to see for most of the year: an offense that can score from just about anywhere on the field, and an improving defense. This team has a legitimate shot to make a bowl game. Missouri is a 10-point favorite at home against Tennessee in what should be an incredibly fun weekend in Columbia. They can do it. I believe again, as should many of you. It’s going to be a fun November to track.
Missouri did what you are supposed to do last week: Florida was down, and Missouri kept them there. The Tigers broke Florida’s spirit and coasted down the stretch.
Can Missouri keep it up against further SEC competition? We will see. The expectation for the 2017 team was always to make a bowl game, and they’ve chosen a weird path, but it’s still very much possible. That’s a real sign of the progress for Odom and his staff.
Everybody makes a bowl game. There are forty bowl games. But given their start, making a bowl would show real fight and cohesion that I didn’t think they had earlier this season. It would’ve been very easy for Missouri to hold its head down and go through the motions of the rest of the season. It’s clear that they haven’t.
Barry Odom had gotten a Kim Anderson label, and to some extent it was earned. I didn’t like the post-game rant after the Auburn game. To me, it reeked of desperation from a man who felt his dream job was slipping away.
But Kim Anderson teams never showed the sign that Odom’s squad did this past Saturday. You were always waiting for Kim to give you some sign that he could be the solution and not part of the problem, and that sign never arrived.
For the first time this season, there’s some hope with this Missouri team, a feeling that your preseason expectations will be proven right. You couldn’t ask for a much better closing stretch of SEC games. Missouri’s bowl hopes are right there for the taking.
Gary Pinkel was 37-35 in his first six seasons at Missouri heading into 2007, with just one bowl win under his belt. Things didn’t just happen overnight, it took time and patience—maybe more time than people thought and maybe more patience than people had—but it eventually happened.
Barry Odom is probably not Gary Pinkel, but less than two seasons wasn’t enough time to show us that. A bowl game appearance will calm everyone down, fans can exhale a little bit, and there will be some momentum going into next season. And Odom would have earned it during college football’s most important month.
"Those who win in November will be remembered" was Pinkel’s favorite saying. We are three weeks away from seeing if Barry Odom can live up to that quote.