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Pourover: Resetting expectations for the second half of the season

Is it safe to call the first half a disappointment?

NCAA Football: Missouri at Auburn John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Last week I gave reason to think Mizzou was almost a good football team. After a bye week to reset, how do we go about removing the “Almost” part of that sentiment?

Some seem to think changing a Quarterback is enough. Some want Eli Drinkwitz to give up play calling duties. And while arguments there are reasonable and valid, it’s not something I’m particularly interested in at the moment.

I agree with BK in that I don’t support a Quarterback change. I do think it would be valuable to try and find snaps for another Quarterback, whether it Tyler Macon or Sam Horn. Horn seems to be the most popular there, which I understand why. But I also think it’s fair to say that Brady Cook has not been the biggest issue for this team. He hasn’t been great, but I often feel our patience for learning within the context of sports has been reduced to nothing.

Players do get better with experience. Coaches also get better. And teams get better.

And as we turn the page into the second half of 2022, the three aforementioned thoughts all need to occur for us to feel better about the progress of this program. Brady Cook needs to get better, Eli Drinkwitz needs to get better, and if they do I think Mizzou will get better.

It all starts with a chance to get off the three game slide against Vanderbilt. Beating Vandy here is mandatory. First, it’s Homecoming. Not that you can’t lose on Homecoming, but it’s definitely better when you win. Second, Missouri just has to beat Vanderbilt. The Commodores are better than they’ve been the last few years, but like Mizzou they’re rebuilding. Missouri is a paltry 53rd in Bill C’s SP+ rankings, but Vanderbilt is 92nd. It’s not great but they’re better than Louisiana Tech by quite a significant amount.

Rebuilds at Vandy take longer than other places, and Mizzou has to show they’re ahead of Vandy on the rebuild schedule. If you’re looking to build any enthusiasm you’ve lost over the last three weeks, it won’t get better if you drop a game to Vandy. So winning this game is a must.

But beating Vanderbilt doesn’t necessarily prove Mizzou is better. However beating South Carolina on the road certainly does. Mizzou showing they’re taking another step in season means getting over the hump and winning a close game. Holding serve at home and looking good against Kentucky matters. You don’t need to beat Tennessee in Knoxville, especially if Alabama can’t, but you need to show competitiveness.

We’re all looking for something from this team. The first half is behind us, and while the disappointment of the first half still rings through, there’s a chance for this team to change our expectations with 6 games to play.

Other SEC Scores:

  • Tennessee (6) 52, Alabama (3) 49
  • Georgia (1) 55, Vanderbilt 0
  • Ole Miss (9) 48, Auburn 34
  • Kentucky (16) 27, Mississippi State (22) 17
  • Arkansas 52, BYU 35
  • LSU 45, Florida 35