When it rains, it pours (literally and figuratively). That was the case for the Missouri Tigers in Lexington on Saturday night.
Sadly, it might be just about time to put the nail in the coffin for the 2019 Missouri Football season. Sure, there are still four games remaining to salvage something out of this year, but Saturday night’s 29-7 loss to Kentucky, their second loss in a row to a subpar team, has Missouri’s season careening downhill fast. Barry Odom and the Tigers are desperately searching for answers, and it honestly seems like things can’t get any worse.
Not showing up against Vanderbilt is one thing. Not showing up after a loss against a team that has now won its last five straight meetings against them is another. For the second consecutive week, Missouri has looked disinterested in games where they certainly had plenty to play for, and that’s just... mind boggling. I’ve said it time and time again that one of Barry Odom’s biggest strengths as a head coach is that he doesn’t lose his teams — he hasn’t in the previous three seasons — but it’s fair to question if, at this point, he has — especially after Saturday night’s lackluster performance.
And that’s where the real issue lies with this team right now. There’s just no leadership and discipline to be found. A combined 20 penalties for 195 yards in the last two games is just the latest example of that.
Sure, the loss of Cale Garrett for the season certainly stung, but Missouri should have enough leaders on the defense to overcome that. After a fun first half of the season, Kelly Bryant has basically been M.I.A. the last two games. The offensive line is a mess, and Tucker McCann can’t hit a field goal.
The bye week couldn’t have come at a better time for this Missouri team, but it ultimately might not even matter at this point. Through eight games, Missouri is 5-3 (2-2 SEC), and that’s just simply not going to cut it in what was considered to be such a highly anticipated season. In the span of two weeks (two weeks!!), Missouri went from leading the SEC East to seriously questioning if a winning record is even in play— that’s a legitimate discussion to have at this point.
Let’s take a quick look at the schedule, shall we?
Georgia and Florida are up next? Forget about it, things will drastically need to change if the Tigers are going to manage win at least one of those.
Tennessee? The Volunteers have some playmakers and are playing their best football under Jeremy Pruitt right now.
Arkansas? Losing to the Razorbacks is certainly in play if the Tigers play like they did against Vanderbilt and Kentucky and can’t win on the road.
Needless to say, things just aren’t going to get any easier from here on out.
Let’s be clear, though. This season wasn’t exactly about winning the SEC East or maybe even getting to 10 wins. But, in year four under Barry Odom, noticeable progress was needed, just like the past three seasons. And now, Missouri is in the worst-case scenario as this season is in real danger of being a very disappointing step back.
Missouri basically needs to win out to consider this year a success. Even if they magically do that, a 9-3 record with losses to Wyoming, Vanderbilt, and Kentucky would be pretty dang frustrating. Time is running out as this season is going downhill fast.