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The future of Missouri Football has yet to be written

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5 predictions for Mizzou’s next couple of years.

NCAA Football: Arkansas at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Today at SB Nation, we are talking about the Future of Football. Here at Rock M, let’s talk about the future of Mizzou football for a moment.

When you have a coach for a long period of time, you get used to a certain flow. Heading into 2015, Gary Pinkel’s 15th season in Columbia, you could begin to see how the pieces would fall in line for Mizzou in coming years. It was easy to predict that the Tigers’ offense wasn’t going to be particularly exciting in 2015, but it was also easy to see how things might all come back together by 2017 or so.

Instead, Mizzou’s offense completely fell apart, the season went off the rails with a bunch of low-scoring, hard-to-watch losses, and Pinkel revealed a cancer diagnosis and retired. Into his shoes walked assistant coach Barry Odom, who helped to put the offense back together in his first season but watched the defense fall apart.

Heading into 2017, you can see whatever you want to see for Mizzou Football’s near future. The offense returns almost everyone from last year’s bounce back and will return quite a few contributors again in 2018. The defense, if healthy, should be restocked up front and seems to have decent enough depth to pull off more of a nickel base.

So ... good things, right? But what if the offense hit its inconsistent ceiling last year and the talent just isn’t there on defense anymore?

A team with Mizzou’s 2016 offense and 2015 defense would have ranked 15th in S&P+ last year. A team with Mizzou’s 2015 offense and 2016 defense would have ranked 122nd. That opens up just about any conceivable possibility moving forward.

I’d love to see some of your predictions in the comments section below. But moving into an incredibly uncertain, undetermined 2017, here are five things I think I believe about the near future of Mizzou Football:

  1. Mizzou will go 6-6/7-5 in 2017.
  2. Mizzou will land six of the vaunted Tiger Top Ten.
  3. Mizzou will go 9-3 in 2018.
  4. Drew Lock will be a third-round draft pick in 2019.
  5. Josh Heupel will become a mid-major head coach in 2019.

I guess that list is relatively self-explanatory, and with bold prediction lists like this, I’ll be happy to go about 2-for-5.

(Well, I guess my happiness depends on which two I get right. Would love to get No. 3 right but find I was aiming too low on No. 1 and No. 2, for instance.)

I think I see a pretty decent path to happiness for Mizzou fans in the coming years, but it’s incredible how little we truly know at this point. The unexpected highs (2013) and lows (2015) of the end of the Pinkel era, combined with a 180-degree turn for both offense and defense in 2016, has made things completely undefined moving forward.

Honestly? It’s kind of exciting. I mean, I’d love to just know that this team is about to win big, but not knowing or believing a damn thing for sure is ... freeing.

Alright, your turn. Let’s make some bold predictions.