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Hope dawns over Mizzou Athletics

Here are today’s Mizzou Links

It’s a hopeful week across Mizzou Athletics

Hope is a weird feeling to have — particularly when it comes to the world of sports. To have hope is to tacitly admit you’re staking emotion into something with the possibility it won’t come to pass. Hope is one of the biggest, broadest feelings we can have as human beings, and we usually reserve it for bigger, more important sounding things that sports. Politics, finances, foreign relations, etc.

But for some weird reason, all of us here (and elsewhere) have chosen to put our hope in sports, specifically those at the University of Missouri. For many fanbases, this would be considered a foolish thing — looking at you, Cleveland Browns and St. Louis Blues fans. Still, we march on in this seemingly futile act, knowing our emotions will be stoked, and we’ll probably get wrapped up in laundry-based activities that many people seem content to live without.

But every once in a while — and forgive me if this feels a little overelaborate — it feels pretty good to have hope, even in sports. This would be one of those weeks for Missouri Tiger faithful. For one thing, the high still hasn’t worn off of the program’s biggest win in four years. To borrow (generously) from Sam’s links post yesterday:

Culture is hard to define but it is definitive for a football program. Culture is something players attach themselves to in good times and in tough times, and it’s clear the culture Barry Odom has worked to build over the last few years might be settling in because it’s the only thing which helps a program turn the page on what many had deemed a soul-crushing loss.

It feels good to have hard evidence, for the first time in a long time, that Missouri’s program might be trending upward under Barry Odom. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but until they prove otherwise, hope is the presiding feeling over these Tigers.

And it’s not just football either!

Even without Jontay Porter, there are plenty of reasons to be excited about men’s basketball. Even if you’re the most pessimistic fan, you can still stick around to see if Cuonzo Martin will pull off another crazy NCAA Tournament bid after losing his team’s best player to injury. And as for the women? This might just be the best team the Tigers have ever had. And that’s not even mentioning Mizzou Volleyball...

So, yeah. It’s a good time to be a Missouri Tiger fan. Who knows how long the overall feeling of hope will last? My advice would be to enjoy it. It’s not often these waves of positivity hit a school’s athletics department.

Report cards are in!

As always, several outlets are posting grades for the Tigers after the Saturday outing. And, unlike most of the games we’ve seen this year, it’s pretty much straight As across the board.

  • Alex Schiffer is complementary of everyone in his weekly grades piece, but he makes special note of one Missouri freshman who chomped (sorry, I couldn’t resist) down on the Gators chances of coming back.
  • Gabe DeArmond takes the PowerMizzou grades post for the week ($$.) Not everyone gets an A here, but one group does get an A+. They also posted the weekly Pro Football Focus individual grades later in the day, as is usual ($$.) I thought PFF was a little too hard on several Missouri players, particularly one star who keyed the team to Saturday’s monster win.

Yesterday at Rock M

More Links:

  • Boy, coaches sure do get fired up about fans and how they play into success. Missouri’s coaches haven’t been immune to that in the past, but it’s almost never a great look, especially when your team gets pasted during Homecoming. Right, Dan Mullen?

“That’s how it works,” a frustrated Mullen said. “I’m gonna be honest with you, this is how it works too, when we sell out the stadium, we win a championship. It doesn’t go the other way. It’s not we win, you sell out. You sell out, you win. Go watch teams that have built programs. That’s how it works.”

So you’re saying that’s how it works?

  • I need to get back to weekly schadenfreude links, so here’s a few to make up for the weeks I’ve missed:

[The Price is Right losing horn plays loudly]

Watching Texas get Will Grier’d last second was [Italian chef kisses fingers]

  • Weekly bowl projections are in!

247: Music City Bowl vs. Duke

CBS Sports: Music City Bowl vs. Boston College

ESPN: Music City Bowl/Belk Bowl vs. Duke

Saturday Down South: Liberty Bowl vs. Baylor

SB Nation: Texas Bowl vs. Iowa State

Sports Illustrated: Liberty Bowl vs. Oklahoma State

How are y’all feeling about these predictions? Personally, I’d love to see Missouri play in the Liberty Bowl, but I also can’t stomach the thought of losing to Baylor. An Oklahoma State rematch from the Cotton Bowl would be great. Playing Duke would be fun as well. Sound off on which of these matchups intrigues you the most.