It’s one thing to lose. It happens to teams every week.
Losing stinks. It’s no fun for anyone. Not for the coaches, not for the players, not for the fans and not the administration.
All around, losing stinks.
But certain losses hurt worse than others. A loss that keeps you out of the college football playoff? That has a certain bite to it that hits a little different. Same goes for a loss against your rival. Those L’s sting worse than your run-of-the-mill September game.
I think the experience we had as Mizzou fans over the weekend against Kentucky was the worst kind of loss.
It was new. It was different. And it felt awful.
For the first time under Barry Odom - at least for me - it felt like the team didn’t have the same kind of passion when they walked on the field. I don’t know what it was. But I’ve never once questioned the effort from Mizzou’s players under Odom.
That’s a credit to both the players and the staff. There have been times over the past few years when it would have been easy to mail it in. Despite that, I’ve never felt like the guys had a lack of faith in the direction of the program. Heck, I wrote just last week that Odom is a “wartime coach” who thrives in adverse situations.
For whatever reason, that didn’t come through against Kentucky. This was the second week in a row Mizzou flat out didn’t show up against a vastly inferior opponent.
Former Rock M Nation legend Bill Connelly coined a metric called S&P+. To dumb it down to its simplest form, S&P+ measures the quality of a team. One of the things I love about what Bill does with this is he’s able to measure how well a team performs in any given week relative to that team’s previous performances.
Mizzou played at their 17th percentile against Vanderbilt, and followed it up with a 9th percentile performance against Kentucky.
To put it another way, we more or less just saw the floor for what Missouri is capable of in back-to-back weeks on the road against arguably the two worst teams in the SEC.
I don’t know if it was effort. I don’t know if it was execution. I don’t know if it was coaching. It was likely a combination of all of the above.
But I’ve seen bad coaching. I’ve seen bad execution.
This was the first time I’ve wondered if the team was pulling in the same direction. That’s why this one felt different. That’s why this one hurt worse.