It’s time to take a deep breath.
No, I’m not going to tell you what happened on Saturday is excusable. I’m not here to make you feel better about Missouri losing on the road against a Mountain West team that Vegas had projected as a five win team. I’m not interested in doing that. It’s a brutal loss.
B-r-u-t-a-l. No if’s, and’s or but’s about it.
But it doesn’t end the season.
It’s time to take a step back, take a deep breath and realize what’s still on the horizon for this team. Because everything - and I mean everything - is still on the table.
Did you see what the rest of the SEC did over the weekend? Let’s go through it briefly. Because it matters. A lot.
- Tennessee lost to Georgia State. At home.
- South Carolina lost to North Carolina.
- Florida’s offense looked like an absolute disaster against Miami.
- Arkansas had to hold on late to beat Portland State 20-13. At home.
- And Ole Miss lost on the road against Memphis.
So that schedule we’ve all been talking about? Yeah, it still looks weak.
The schedule was always the reason to be optimistic about this Missouri squad. I still believe this is a talented team. There are obvious flaws, but the potential is still there. I fully expect the Tigers to beat West Virginia this weekend, start the year 2-1, and ultimately go on a run that could have the team at 6-1 before they go back on the road to take on Vanderbilt.
It wasn’t supposed to start this way. It wasn’t supposed to be this hard. But the SEC still looks weak. The two worst teams in the SEC West very well may be the two teams Missouri gets in the cross-divisional match-ups.
It still hurts today — maybe a little less than Saturday — but the sting is still there. The hope of having a magical season is likely off the table. Maybe the interest level among casual fans craters before the season really gets going for the sixth consecutive season. I can’t overstate how disappointing all of that is to me, and should be to you.
But it doesn’t change the reality of the situation. Missouri lost a relatively meaningless (and pointless... but we’ll discuss that another time) non-conference road game to begin the season.
A dark-horse campaign to be the 2nd best team in the SEC East is still very much alive. A big time bowl game is still on the table if the Tigers can get this turned around and the NCAA makes things right.
The goals for the season are very much still attainable. There’s no denying that the season is currently on a bit of a detour. Now it’s time for Barry Odom to prove once again that he’s capable of keeping the train on the tracks.