Drink Up! (?)
This probably sounds a little harsh, but it is the reality: the high of the Luther Burden commitment has worn off and we’re back to facing the blunt reality that Mizzou is not very good.
It was a particularly sobering week for Eli Drinkwitz, who in his return to the podium had to address the loss of three senior leaders in Chris Turner, Mason Pack and Case Cook.
Watch: #Mizzou football coach Eli Drinkwitz started his news conference off by recognizing seniors Chris Turner, Mason Pack and Case Cook for representing. All three of three of them suffered season ending injuries. Here's Eli on @chris_turner17— Andrew Kauffman (@AndrewABC17) October 26, 2021
"He's never had a bad day." pic.twitter.com/eLPp5T95HL
All three of those players represent different levels of contribution to the Mizzou Football team, but let’s be real: all three have been important to the integrity of the locker room during the Odom to Drinkwitz transition. Assuming they spend less time around the team now, losing some of those glue guys may be felt. Hopefully Drink can do what he did last year and convince at least Cook to come back for his COVID year. Even if Pack came back he doesn’t see the field much, and it certainly sounds like Turner is hanging up the cleats based on his “statement.”
At least we had the bye week, right?
Came Through Drippin’
It’s... it’s beautiful.
This is, in my humble opinion, the best combination Mizzou has thrown out this year. For the past few weeks, it’s felt like Mizzou is mixing and matching good parts and not finding the right combination. But this is perfectly simple and understated. The all whites with the white block M is clean, simple and everything I want out of a uniform.
What the “Experts” are saying
- SP+, that fickle friend, says Mizzou has a 76 percent win probability, which means there’s a 1 in 4 chance that they lose to Vanderbilt! Fun!!
- Lila Bromberg zeroed in on Mizzou’s need to limit turnovers against Vandy, which has been a problem especially for Connor Bazelak.
- There are quite a few names on the injury report this week, including several depth pieces (and a few starters) on both offense and defense.
- Five out of the seven Anchor of Gold staff members have the Commodores prevailing in Nashville which... you know what, I can’t criticize.
Man, there’s a lot to catch up on since we last met up in the Pregamin’ Q&A! Of course, the big headline was the commitment of Luther Burden, which rocked the Mizzou Football world. Did Burden’s commitment change the way you view the program moving forward or how the season has turned out thus far?
Kortay Vincent, Football Beat Writer: I think the Burden commitment solidified something that we might’ve already known, Eli Drinkwitz is a hell of a recruiter. Yes, we knew he could recruit, but to go head-to-head with UGA, the No. 1 team in all of America, and to win a recruiting battle is huge. Other recruits will see Mizzou as a much better destination now, and what’s the easiest way to produce a better product on the field? Getting better players. Well, it looks like Eli Drinkwitz is well on his way to that, now it’s just time to see if the Tigers can figure out the on-the-field coaching.
Karen Steger, Madame Editor: The commitment has no impact on how I currently feel about the state of the Missouri Football program since it’s not like we can sneak him in a game now… or can we??? But it DOES give me hope for the future. We knew Drinkwitz was a good recruiter, but wow… to pull this off, he’s clearly a great recruiter, and one can only imagine other players choosing Mizzou over some… ahem… better schools in the future with Luther on board. As Kortay said above, Mizzou is slowly becoming a destination under Coach Drinkwitz, which is just super cool.
Sammy Stava, Staff Writer: Oh, it certainly helps. Mizzou is in the midst of a really disappointing season, but it’s important to know that we’re only in year two of the Eli Drinkwitz era, and it will take time to build this program up where it wants to be. The recruiting classes coming in gives us hope that the future is still bright even in a season that hasn’t been any fun. Burden’s commitment was Mizzou’s biggest win of the season, and this program desperately needed it.
Earlier this week we learned that several of Mizzou’s seniors will be out for the season, opening depth chart spots for some of the young guys. Who would you like to see get some reps at those spots for the rest of the season?
Kortay Vincent: Two players I want to see play more are EJ Ndoma-Ogar and Arden Walker. Ndoma-Ogar was an Oklahoma commit and played at Allen High School so he’s got the pedigree of a ballplayer. Now I just want to see if he’s got the skills. As for Walker, I want to see him get some game time to tap into his raw athleticism. He was a dual-sport athlete in high school, and I think in-game reps could really help him hone in his talent and athleticism so that next year he can be a real threat rushing the passer.
Karen Steger: Whomever shows in practice throughout the week that they deserve it the most since I don’t know any specifics about any of the players that were behind Case, Mason and Chris on the depth chart, really. I do wish those three the best on their recoveries, and thank them for their time with Mizzou Football.
Sammy Stava: Yes, you can make an argument for that. Whoever has been playing the best in practice, giving the best effort, or whoever wants it more deserves some playing time for a team that is searching for answers.
We all know that Missouri is not very good, but we can also recognize that Vanderbilt is extra not very good. In this meeting of two not very good titans, how does Missouri assert itself as the better of two struggling programs?
Kortay Vincent: Starting fast is something the Tigers have struggled with all year. Well against Vanderbilt, they need to change that. The last thing Mizzou wants is for the Commodores to be hanging around in the second half. Score early, score often, and make sure Vanderbilt doesn’t get within 2 TDs after halftime. That’s my recipe for success.
Karen Steger: They’ve got to come out of the gates and kick em in the mouth. Wasn’t there a Mizzou Athletics coach or administrator who used to say something along these lines? Anyway, the Tigers have had some trouble in the second half of games this season, so it seems to me that the solution is to get as far ahead as possible in the first half, and then, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, don’t let them back in the game.
This season isn’t over and there is still plenty to play for. No, we aren’t beating Georgia, or likely Arkansas and/or Florida, but we need to win as many games as possible to end the season on a high note, and while Mizzou isn’t a good team by any stretch, I refuse to believe that they are so bad that they’re losing to Vanderbilt and going to be the only remaining SEC team without a win.
Sammy Stava: They just have to go out there and take care of business, especially coming off of a bye week. This is a ‘get right’ kind of game, kind of like SEMO or North Texas. The thing is, there’s still something to play for the rest of the season — which is at least a bowl game. The Tigers will need to beat Vanderbilt and South Carolina to have the Florida and Arkansas games matter (with a bowl game on the line). So, there’s still something to play for down the stretch. If Missouri shows a sense of urgency and gives it their best effort, they should be fine in this one.
PICK ‘EM! Mizzou is, for some reason, a 16-point favorite, which will make their first cover of the season a difficult task. Does Missouri get the job done in Nashville and if so, who plays the biggest role?
Kortay Vincent: Missouri hasn’t covered since they played Vanderbilt last year. Mizzou is pretty much automatic when it comes to not covering the spread. If not covering the spread was a sport we’d be the best team in the country at it. With that being said, scared money don’t make money, TIGERS -16. I’ll go with a 48-31 victory for Mizzou.
Karen Steger: Mizzou wins by a score of 32-18, and will once again not cover the spread. The Tigers will have big games from Connor Bazelak, who’s used the bye week as a resurgence of sorts and will become immune to throwing interceptions (one can hope), and Tyler Badie, because we can always count on him and he’s fueled by the awesomeness of Crumbl cookies.
Addendum: No, when I wrote my part of this at like 1am, I clearly didn’t figure out HOW Vandy could get to 18 points. I decided in my heart that Mizzou would win by 14 and have 32, so here we are. Changing it now would be unfair ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Sammy Stava: This one won’t exactly be pretty. Vanderbilt will put some points on the board. For a team with one of the worst run defenses in the country and hasn’t covered a spread all season, I still can’t pick them to do so now.
I still like Missouri to win and get back to the .500 mark, however. Tigers win 31-20 with a big bounce back game from Connor Bazelak who has battled some adversity lately.