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The Most Likable Mizzou Football Team in Years

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This year’s Tigers stuck together through a bowl ban and crafted one of the most likable teams in recent memory. That doesn’t matter in and of itself, but it will if the team starts winning.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 20 Memphis at Missouri Photo by Jimmy Simmons/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It doesn’t mean anything... until it does.

That’s how I feel about Mizzou’s offseason.

It doesn’t mean anything that Mizzou had the fewest transfers in the SEC despite being the only SEC program with a bowl ban.

It doesn’t really matter that Barry Odom feels comfortable enough as a football coach that he made practices more accessible for media this offseason. It doesn’t mean a whole lot that Odom gave (somewhat) unfiltered access to a former college QB turned Barstool content-creator.

It doesn’t change a whole lot for Mizzou fans that this team has had multiple videos go viral of players singing in the cold tub (and the Tiger Club), or performing as members of a drum line to the tune of the Ying Yang Twins.

None of it really matters.

Until it does.

On the surface, none of this stuff really matters. It doesn’t necessarily translate to wins on the field or increased revenue by way of ticket sales or a bump in overall interest in the season.

But it can lead to all of those things.

Maybe I’m on an island on this one, but I find the 2019 Mizzou football team to be unbelievably likable.

The quarterback chose Mizzou over a half-dozen SEC programs because he wanted to be here. That doesn’t matter now... but if he wins? Oh yeah, that’ll matter.

The players in this program bonded together instead of bolting for a better situation when the bowl ban came down. That may not matter now, but if they win? You better believe the fan base will remember this group of guys fondly in part because of the players’ willingness to see it through.

Those silly viral videos of singing and dancing and laughing? They’re fun. They’re entertaining. They don’t ultimately mean much right now... but if they win? They’ll be part of what this team is remembered for.

Odom’s willingness to open up access to the team doesn’t matter a whole lot to fans right now. It’s something fans rarely care about, honestly. But you’ll appreciate that more as the season goes along if this team wins. If the access continues, it leads to better stories. And this team clearly has a whole lot of stories to tell.

The 2019 Mizzou season has the potential to be a memorable one. The team is talented. The coach is settling in. The likability factor is through the roof. And this team has one thing that separates it from even the likes of the 2007, 2010 or 2013 squads.

This is the team that saw it through with the bowl ban lurking.

That matters at Missouri. It matters even more if you win.

Mizzou fans have a bit of an “us against the world” mentality. It’s always been there, but maybe more so now than ever before.

And this year, the team has that same mentality. The quarterback embraces it. The coach openly talks about it. The motto for the entire university right now is, “Make It Right.”

This stuff doesn’t matter. Not yet. The winning has to come first for it to really surface in a way that’s palpable.

But if this team wins— if they do what they’re capable of doing, these little things will be the reason why the 2019 Tigers are remembered so fondly. This team is unbelievably likable.

It doesn’t matter yet. But it can. And I believe it will.