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Drink Up!

After a really rough week for Drinkwitz and crew, things seemed to go back to normal this week. Steve Wilks spoke to media. Players seemed upbeat. And most importantly, Drinkwitz was back with the quips.

Last week’s Homecoming win was convincing, albeit with a bit of a collapse toward the end. Even with the opponent being who they are, it’s good to see the team loosen up a bit, especially with a hot Texas A&M team coming to town. I don’t know that anyone expects Mizzou to win, and the season still seems destined for disappointment on some level. But a strong showing (even in a loss) against the Aggies would certainly go a long way to re-instilling confidence in the direction of the program. A certain 5-star wide receiver could up that boost even more with a commitment next week... just saying.

Came Through Drippin’

Oh... uh, well... hmmm...

This seems like a very bad mixture of some very good parts, IMO. Anyone who reads Pregamin’ will be aware that I’m an unabashed stan for all whites, so the pants work. The black jerseys with gold accents are a standard. The white Block M is a nice mixture of the old and the new.

But all together? I don’t know, I just don’t think it works at all. This may be Mizzou’s first actively bad uniform all season (please don’t @ me.)

What the “Experts” are saying

The first half of the season is over, and there’s no doubt Mizzou has disappointed in several of its losses. If you had to give the whole team a grade for the first 6 weeks, what would it be?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 09 North Texas at Missouri Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Josh Matejka, Deputy Site Manager: Unfortunately, Mizzou is probably hovering in the C- to D+ range.

That’s a tough call to make, especially because the offense probably shouldn’t be graded below a B- and the special teams is a resounding A+. The defense can’t get anything above an F though, and that’s dragging the rest of the team down. On the whole, Missouri hasn’t done anything to justify getting a safe passing grade. They’ve beaten the teams they absolutely needed to beat and haven’t been able to pull through against any teams that would elevate them. You don’t get extra credit for doing what you’re supposed to do.

Aaron Dryden, Staff Football Writer: I would probably say in totality, a C-.

Individually, Offense gets a B-, Defense gets an F, and Special Teams gets an A+.

I’ve liked Missouri’s offense despite the fact that there have been a few hiccups at quarterback. Bazelak hasn’t been great all the times, but he generally will give Missouri a chance to win.

The defense is awful. We’ve discussed it ad nauseum. I think there’s a way for them to get better, but through six games it’s been supremely disappointing.

Special teams are a consistent bright spot for this team. Mevis hasn’t missed, Koetting has been wonderful on kickoffs and McKinniss has been a consistent field flipper. Hell, Kris Abrams-Draine has a return for a TD. Good marks all around there.

Parker Gillam, Football Beat Writer: C+. There was a lot of offseason hype around this team, and they have disappointed in terms of wins and losses. I will still say that the offense, especially Tyler Badie, has lived up to the hype, but obviously the run defense has been what has let this team down time and time again. I mean, nobody saw the defense being this porous, and they have dragged the team down with them. There is too much offensive experience and talent for this team to be 3-3 right now, especially with the opponents they have lost to not being leaps and bounds ahead of them.

The second half of this season is particularly brutal, but it also offers a few opportunities to pick off vulnerable opponents. What are your expectations for Mizzou’s second half — or to put it another way, what would leave you feeling satisfied heading into the post/offseason?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 09 North Texas at Missouri Photo by Rick Ulreich/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Josh Matejka, Deputy Site Manager: At this point, I’m probably going to be satisfied with 5 wins — and depending on how Mizzou plays, I’d even be okay with 4. That sounds bad, but let me explain.

Mizzou isn’t good this year. They just aren’t. We can have a legitimate discussion about Steve Wilks and the coaching staff, but anyone worth their salt has to admit that Mizzou doesn’t have the horses to compete against the mid-to-upper tier of the SEC right now. This is true on both sides of the ball, though the offense has more to do with youth while the defense has more to do with pure talent. A team like this shouldn’t win more than 4 or 5 games a year in the SEC. But if Mizzou can stick in some close games, especially against teams like Texas A&M, Arkansas and (god help us) Georgia and get the youngsters some playing time, that’ll be enough for me to feel okay going into the offseason. Disappointed, yes, but okay nonetheless.

Aaron Dryden, Staff Football Writer: My expectations are simply for Missouri to compete to the best of their abilities, and in the meantime, develop younger talent. I want to see more of Mekhi Wingo, Dominic Lovett, etc. Winning games is still important, but I’m looking for more younger building blocks to feel good about going into next season.

Parker Gillam, Football Beat Writer: Being competitive against Florida and Georgia would be great just to show that this team has improved over the course of the season, but anything less than 6 wins would leave everybody unhappy. People had pegged Mizzou in for 8, maybe even 9 wins before the season started. Now, the Tigers have to take down SC and Vanderbilt (plausible) and upset either TAMU, Florida or Arkansas (UGA isn’t happening) to make a bowl game. From what we have seen thus far, that is a tall order. Still, with the firepower this offense has, I can see them winning a game they should not, and potentially righting the wrongs from earlier in the season. 6 wins, or we can consider Mizzou one of the biggest disappointments of the 2021 college football season.

Texas A&M was slipping and sliding in the first few weeks of the season, but rose to prominence last week when they took down the seemingly unbeatable Alabama. Are you a believer in the Aggies, or did they catch the Tide sleeping?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 25 Southwest Classic - Texas A&M v Arkansas Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Josh Matejka, Deputy Site Manager: They did just beat the best team in the country without their starting QB. So they have to be real on some level.

Honestly, though, I think there is something to them catching ‘Bama at the wrong time. ‘Bama hadn’t really been challenged yet on the season and have a freshman QB at the helm. Bryce Young has been brilliant, no doubt, but he’s still young and prone to games where he doesn’t act like the future NFLer he is.

Is A&M the real deal? It depends on how you define it. They’re clearly quite talented and are extremely dangerous when they put it all together. But I’m not ready to put them in the Tier I conversation with Alabama and Georgia quite yet.

Aaron Dryden, Staff Football Writer: I am a believer. The Aggies are a solid, well-coached team who just so happened to be missing their starting QB. In addition, A&M recruits better than almost every team in the country, so I know that they have the talent to compete with almost anyone, any given weekend. I think this is a case of two things not being mutually exclusive. Alabama slept walk through that game, but A&M is still a good team and a program I’d be nervous to play going forward this year, and beyond.

Parker Gillam, Football Beat Writer: Very tough to call, and it really comes down to Zach Calzada. The guy was abysmal in almost every game before Alabama, but then played like a guy who wore #2 there not too long ago when it mattered most. If he keeps that up, TAMU has the talent to run the table. If that was a fluke and some Kyle Field magic came into play, then I see them picking up another 1-2 losses. I would also add that Bama needed a wake-up-call, and that if they played each other a couple weeks from now, at any location, it’d be the Tide by 20+.

PICK ‘EM! Mizzou is a 9-point dog at home, which seems low considering how poor Missouri has been on defense. The over/under is set at 58.5. How does this one end up... and what does Missouri need to pull off the upset?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 09 North Texas at Missouri Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Josh Matejka, Deputy Site Manager: If I was just a little bit richer, I’d put two months budget on this line. What a wild thing for Vegas to do. Mizzou isn’t getting within 9 points, and will likely end up with a score something along the lines of 51-27 — so yeah I’ll take the over.

For Mizzou to pull off the upset? You’ll need multiple things to be true, but here’s two freebies: Connor Bazelak will need to be perfect and probably hit a deep ball or two. And someone — anyone! — on the defense will have to reach down deep and make a game-changing play.

Aaron Dryden, Staff Football Writer: 9 points is insane. I love Mizzou, but they’ve got to show me something before I would bet any amount of money on them. Oh, and Missouri also hasn’t covered the spread once this year.

My prediction? It’ll be a good day to be an Aggie RB.

TAMU 45, Missouri 24.

Parker Gillam, Football Beat Writer: 9 points is incredibly generous, and I hate to be a downer but the easy money is to bet A&M here. I have it finishing up somewhere around TAMU 38, Missouri 20, just sliding under that 58.5 mark. In terms of the keys for Mizzou to pull the upset, it will take two things. The Aggies will be keyed in on Badie with that freakish defensive line, so Bazelak really needs to get back into a groove and be the prolific passer we know he can be. If he throws for over 300 with no turnovers, then the Tigers will likely be in this game late. On the flip side, this defense is not going to stop Isaiah Spiller, let’s be honest. What they can do, however, is what they did last week. Get plenty of tackles for loss, and force a couple of turnovers. At this point, stealing possessions is the best thing this defense can do to help this team, and as long as the offense is scoring, all they need to do is win them a couple extra possessions.