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Missouri drops a bit in Power 5 athletic department rankings — but its still ahead of Kansas

Here are today’s Mizzou Links.

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Missouri is 37th in athletic department rankings

These rankings are from Pat Forde over at Yahoo Sports, who averages the Learfield Cup rankings over the past five years to rank the athletic departments.

Here’s what Forde has to say about Missouri:

Best sport: wrestling. Trajectory: down. The Tigers endured an 18-spot drop from 2018 to ’19, tumbling out of the Top 50 for the first time since 2013. Mizzou did almost all its work in the winter sports, with minor contributions in the fall and spring. Next year doesn’t look any better, with the football, softball and baseball programs facing postseason bans (pending appeal).

Fair. Missouri did take a fall this year, and unless those postseason bans get overturned (FINGERS CROSSED!) it will be tough for them to improve in the 2019-2020 academic year.

For now, the Tigers are tied at 37th with — gulp — Illinois, but they are a solid THIRTY-TWO spots ahead of Kansas.

Of course, this brings up the interesting debate: Would you rather be a national-title contender in one revenue sport (football or men’s basketball) or have a strong athletic department top-to-bottom? Clemson, for example, is 53rd in these rankings. Missouri’s likely to never be a year-in, year-out national contender in either of those two revenue sports, so the goal should be consistency throughout the athletic department.

With baseball and softball showing improvement, Missouri should start bouncing back once the NCAA sanctions get dealt with.

Good thing expectations for Dru Smith are being kept in check — oh wait

From the Athletic: “The path to a resurgent Missouri begins with Dru Smith.”

Now, the article is behind a paywall so I’m not going to put too much from it here, but there’s this graf that serves as the thesis of sorts:

Smith is sort of the secret savior in Columbia. Nationally there’s not going to be a lot of buzz around his name going into the 2019-20 season. Smith put up fine numbers as a sophomore at Evansville, averaging 13.7 points, 4.6 assists and 2.0 steals per game, but they didn’t eye-pop and Mizzou is coming off an under-.500 season in which it went 5-13 in the SEC. But dig deeper into those numbers and you’ll find Smith was one of the more reliable point guards in college basketball as a sophomore, and inside the walls of Mizzou Arena, they believe he’s the solution to many of the Tigers problems last season.

Later on in the article, CJ Moore says how one of the biggest improvements Smith could create would be in Jeremiah Tilmon — which would be a welcome sight for Missouri fans everywhere.

Anyway, the article is worth a read, so if you’re not a subscriber at the Athletic, think about giving it a shot now.

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