One of the more predictable things about sports is our ability to over react to the small changes which occur during a game or season, while at the same time under reacting to the larger more sustainable changes taking place on a bigger scale.
Case in point our general reaction to the way the game played out against Oklahoma State. Immediately after the game there was anger and frustration from all corners of the Mizzou fandom. Ben Hochman said the loss ‘stings’:
But right now, the win total is clear and crisp and excruciating. The Mizzou Tigers finished with eight wins — and it should’ve been nine.
Excruciating seems a bit much. I don’t say this to call Hochman out. We’re all prone to these sort of reactions. Hell even Pete called it a gut punch after the game. What I’m trying to say is these reactions aren’t wrong, but we also need to make sure we have context. Missouri just completed one of their better 1-2 month runs in football in a while and you know what? It ended poorly, and for one big reason.
Oklahoma State played better than Missouri, so they won.
A lot of people overlooked Oklahoma State because of their record, coming into the game at just 6-6. But Bill C. had a nice write up post-game which hopefully can provide some more context for those of us (read: myself) who were in that category:
Based on the regular season S&P+ rankings (which will be updated on January 2), OSU played five top-40 teams in 2018: Boise State, Texas, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Missouri. The Cowboys went an astounding 4-1, beating Texas and WVU in shootouts, crushing Boise State, beating Mizzou in the final minute, and coming within a two-point conversion of upsetting Oklahoma in Norman.
I don’t know if it makes anyone feel better about anything, but Oklahoma State was apparently a fantastic football team, only when they weren’t. Unfortunately for Missouri they got the good version of the Cowboys, and they got the good version when Emanuel Hall and Albert Okwuegbunam were again sidelined for most if not all the game. There seemed just a multitude of breaks that went against Missouri.
Another version of this post, probably on CRFF, talks about how if not for Cam Hilton’s two interceptions, Missouri is blown out and we aren’t even going to talk about the microcosm of coaching decisions. Missouri had turned the ball over on downs and OSU had pushed the ball 24 yards on four plays before David Cornelius threw an ill-advised pass on the run. He did is again this time just a step from being out of bounds on their next series.
All coaches are bad
One of the things I enjoy about following football games with twitter is the reaction to the coaches decision making with each game. Did Barry Odom make some bad calls? Yes. But he’s far from alone in the category of criticized head coaches.
Good job good effort by James Franklin. Kicking that field goal was incomprehensibly bad. How in the world do guys who make 5 million plus to do this not understand the basic math involved in these decisions.— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) January 1, 2019
Chris Peterson essentially just said he likes his chances of recovering an onside kick instead of converting 4th & 8. Idiotic.— Doug Kezirian (@DougESPN) January 2, 2019
I swear you can just plug (coaches name) and “decision” into a twitter search following each game and you’ll see plenty of people with blue checkmarks talking about bad coaching decisions.
I don’t know why head coaches make the decisions they make when the world disagrees with them. But a lot of them do. And as I said on twitter the other night, unless you’ve got Nick Saban or Dabo Swinney on your sideline you probably spend a fair amount of time frustrated by your head coach.
But if you’re looking for positivity, which I’m often accused of when it comes to Mizzou football, the program took some really good strides this season and had a great month of December in recruiting. Landing Kelly Bryant and Jonathan Nance, plus Shawn Robinson are all long term program changing moves. If Odom can make better decisions on game day perhaps we can all be happy with where the program is headed, and I tend to think Odom will get better in his game management as he gains more experience. Or maybe the word I’m looking for is hope.
Yesterday at Rock M
The SEC’s done pretty well overall:
- Gator Bowl: Texas A&M 52, NC State 13
- Belk Bowl: Virginia 28, South Carolina 0 (it could’ve been a lot worse I guess)
- Peach Bowl: Florida 41, Michigan 15
- Orange Bowl: Alabama 45, Oklahoma 41
- Music City Bowl: Auburn 63, Purdue 14
- Texas Bowl: Baylor 45, Vanderbilt 38
- Outback Bowl: Iowa 27, Mississippi State 22
- Citrus Bowl: Kentucky 27, Penn State 24
- Fiesta Bowl: LSU 40, UCF 32
- (boo Georgia — don’t spot Bevo a 17 point lead before you decide to start playing football) Sugar Bowl: Texas 28, Georgia 14