This was supposed to be the year, wasn’t it? It was supposed to be an improvement from last season, a step in the right direction for the program, and a nationally ranked team that could make some real noise in the SEC East.
Wrong. Well now, we’re in year four under Barry Odom, and have yet to experience the breakthrough season. Can it still happen in the future? Of course, but this was supposed to be that season. This was the opportunity to take advantage.
Kelly Bryant? Check. A favorable schedule to work with? Check. Plenty of returning starters coming back? Check. This was all set up perfectly for Odom to succeed. Instead, it’s been anything but successful at this point.
At the very least, he needed to avoid the “How did they lose that game?” game. Well, Wyoming happened in Week One. Then Vanderbilt happened, right after the five-game winning streak. Kentucky followed (again), right before the two most difficult opponents on the schedule, Georgia and Florida. Not only are Odom and Missouri losing these such games again this season, but it’s just happening at the worst possible times in terms of momentum for the program.
Last season, Missouri finished a respectable 8-5 against one of the toughest schedules in the country. And now they’re currently 5-4 with obviously a much weaker schedule. This is becoming a major step back, and Odom simply can’t afford this.
This season’s expectations were pretty much drawn up as:
10-2 (or better) would be considered the dream year.
9-3 if just about everything went right.
8-4 would be acceptable at the bare minimum.
7-5 or 6-6 simply wouldn’t cut it.
With one more loss, Barry Odom and Missouri will enter that dangerous territory that nobody wants to be in, and that includes Athletic Director Jim Sterk. Sterk isn’t the one who hired Odom— Mack Rhoades did, so let’s keep that in mind.
Either way, Sterk isn’t going to make a decision until after the season, so we have to let this play out. There are still three games left. Winning out certainly won’t make up for an already underachieving year, but it would help salvage something from this 2019 season. Odom had a tremendous opportunity this season to get Missouri to the next level, but ultimately hasn’t gotten the job done. And he may never get a better chance to do it.
Don’t forget, Barry Odom came in as a first-time college football head coach in one of the toughest conferences in the country, while also taking over Gary Pinkel – who just so happens to be the most successful coach in Missouri football program history. No one envies this position.
But under those high expectations, Odom managed to take Mizzou to a bowl game in two of his first three seasons and has improved Missouri’s record each year. So for the most part, his tenure thus far has been reasonably successful. Unfortunately, an improved record won’t take place this season in year four, which is why we are having this discussion.
It’s fair to say that Odom has done some good things so far in his tenure, but it’s also fair to ask that if he can’t get it done with this group, when will he?