This was supposed to be Missouri’s most anticipated season since maybe 2013-2014.
And how do we start it off? With maybe the Tigers’ worst loss since 2004 at Troy. Lesson learned: (editor’s note: is it though?) never schedule non-Power Five teams on the road! Nate Edwards said it best in his first season opponents preview, “Never schedule a pesky team. Wyoming is a pesky team.”
Missouri learned that lesson the hard way in a baffling and disastrous season-opening loss to the Wyoming Cowboys, falling 37-31 in Laramie. The Tigers led 14-0 at one point, but it ended as Craig Bohl’s first win over a Power-Five team at Wyoming.
Kelly Bryant went 31-48 throwing for a career-high 423 passing yards in his Missouri debut, but those are empty calories. Missouri out-gained Wyoming 537-389 in total yards on offense, but that’s just window dressing.
What matters is the Tigers have started the season inexplicably with a 0-1 record.
So, where do we go from here? Here are some key takeaways from the meltdown loss:
The bowl ban isn’t worth worrying about right now.
When you start the season with a loss to Wyoming, there’s just no need to worry about making a bowl game at the moment. Can the Tigers get to a bowl game if the appeal gets lifted? Yes, absolutely. But this Missouri team had much loftier goals for this season than just making a bowl game. Finishing with a 9-3 or 10-2 record were realistic expectations for this team, and that margin for error is now gone after Week... One. It’s put up or shut up time now, because there are a lot of issues this team needs to fix right now.
The schedule doesn’t matter anymore.
The schedule was one of the main reasons for optimism about this season (and I’m as guilty as anyone!) That has been all washed away. That’s what happens when Missouri loses to Wyoming. Yes, this was an unspectacular Week 1 across the SEC East as Tennessee lost to Georgia State at home and South Carolina lost to North Carolina, along with other uninspiring results. But, this was supposed to be a gimme game, and the Tigers failed miserably in their first test. We haven’t even gotten to Missouri’s most important game of the season yet, which I thought it should be South Carolina. It’s officially one-game-at-a-time now mode for Barry Odom and the Missouri Tigers.
The excitement for the season has already lost its luster.
There is still a lot of season left to play, but West Virginia next week was supposed to be the game to go to for the fan base. SEC Nation is going to be there, it’s Kelly Bryant’s home debut, there’s the new south end zone, and it’s the first game with alcohol being served at Farout Field. After a loss to Wyoming, it’s fair to ask — what will the attendance look like now?
Overreactions are only valid in Week One if you lose. The fan base is already calling for Barry Odom’s job. Is that fair? Maybe. Are we realistically there yet? No.
However, this is exactly the type of game that gets coaches fired. This is exactly the type of game that loses recruits. This is exactly the type of game that loses the momentum of where the program is heading. Barry Odom and Missouri absolutely have to rebound from this loss immediately and resoundingly. They have no other choice.