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Don’t judge Eli Drinkwitz on his record this year

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The expectations weren’t too high to begin with, but they should be even lower with the SEC’s announcement of a conference-only schedule.

Missouri v Arkansas Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Just win six games. That was my hope for Mizzou going into Eli Drinkwitz’s debut season.

That was before the SEC announced it will exclusively play conference games in 2020. Yeah, that changes just about everything.

I recently wrote the Tigers had four “must-win” games and four “toss-up” games on their schedule. Two of those must-win games and two of the toss-up games have since been eliminated.

As information changes, our opinions should change. My expectations for Mizzou football going into this season has certainly shifted as a result of the news in recent days.

That doesn’t mean the Tigers don’t stand a chance to win games this season. Of course not. The Tigers are still expected to play Arkansas, Vanderbilt and Kentucky. Mississippi State is still at least a possibility. Those are opponents Missouri should be either favored against or be seen as a slight underdog against going into game week.

Drinkwitz knows the task at hand just got even more difficult. A season unlike any other just had another curveball thrown into it.

Drinkwitz’s tweet is a joke... Kinda. The ‘85 Bears very well could be the equivalent to the LSU Tigers who are at least in play to be on the schedule. The Mighty Ducks might as well be Texas A&M. And I guess that makes the ‘98 Bulls the comparison for Vanderbilt?

Okay, yeah, maybe that’s a bridge too far. But you get the point.

This is going to be tough as hell. A season that was already going to be difficult got that much harder for Drinkwitz to manage. As a result, I’m not going to hold Drinkwitz to a specific record this season.

Players could opt out. If/when players come down with positive tests, teams could very well could be required to quarantine for a week at a time. The strength of schedule is going to be unlike anything we’ve seen Mizzou play in years (maybe ever?).

What was once thought to be a team with the potential to win six games very well may finish the season with three wins. That’s not a sign that things have gone to hell in a handbasket. It’s the result of a wacko season that just saw everything change (again) weeks before the start of the schedule.

The 2020 college football season should be viewed the same way the vast majority of Americans view a marathon: just find a way to cross the finish line. The accomplishment is less about a specific time and more about how YOU JUST RAN 26.2 MILES.

For 2020, simply finishing the college football season is the accomplishment. Finishing it with an impressive record? That would be nice. But let’s leave those expectations for 2021 and beyond.