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Missouri can’t let Middle Tennessee take the wind out of its sails

Missouri has some momentum behind it. Don’t waste this opportunity against Middle Tennessee.

South Dakota v Missouri Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

I don’t ask for much. But I do ask for this: Can Missouri please keep the wind in its sails? Please? Just for another week. I’m begging here.

For years, Missouri has ended any reason for fan optimism before the calendar turns to October. That’s a tough way to live as a college football fan. This is supposed to be the time in which hope springs eternal. Instead, the first month of the college football season has included this impending feeling of doom in recent years.

I can’t explain why this has happened. But it has. Over. And. Over. And. Over.

Let’s go through the examples, shall we?

2015 - Missouri opens up the season with a 34-3 win against SEMO. Not great, right? But at least they got the job done, I suppose. Then they follow that up by sneaking out of Arkansas State with a 27-20 win. Uh oh. That was the moment we all should’ve known. By week three, I witnessed the worst college football game I’ve ever seen in person, the 9-6 win against UConn. No need to watch the rest of the way. Optimism dead by mid-September.

2016 - Missouri opens up the season on the road with Drew Lock in his second year as the starter. There’s reason for optimism. It’s year one under Barry Odom. Bang, 26-11 loss on the road. That is followed up in week three with the brutal 28-27 loss at home against Georgia in which Jacob Eason ripped the heart out of Faurot Field. 1-2 through 3 weeks. Optimism drained from fans by mid-September.

2017 - It’s probably not great if your defense allows 43 points in the season-opener against Missouri State... right? And it’s definitely not great when you follow that up with consecutive games getting boat-raced by South Carolina and Purdue. Boom. 1-2 start with more than 100 points allowed in three games. Mid-September. Again.

2018 - I’ll give credit where it’s due. Missouri allowed its fans to dream for the first month of the season. The Tigers came away from the first three games relatively unscathed. This is the rare example of a team that actually gave fans some hope, and it ended in Missouri’s best season since 2014, an 8-4 campaign in Drew Lock’s final season.

2019 - Wyoming. I really don’t feel like I need to say anything more. The season was over as soon as it began.

2020 - Let’s be honest, the entire season felt pretty fake, but the Tigers got off to an 0-2 start with losses against Alabama and Tennessee. But, hey, at least the Tigers had that exciting win against a fraudulant LSU team in week three?

2021 - The Tigers opened the season with a too-close-for-comfort 34-24 victory against Central Michigan, and followed that up with a crushing loss at Kentucky. Optimism waned.

2022 - That damn Kansas State game sucked the life out of fans, and anything that remained was certainly gone after the (relatively) disappointing performance in the Tigers’ 34-17 win against Abilene Christian.

That is a brief synopsis of how Tigers fans have been kicked in the groin repeatedly within the first month of the season over, well, nearly a decade. It doesn’t always revolve around losses. Sometimes it’s a close call against a clearly inferior opponent that takes the wind out of the sails. And that’s exactly what can’t take place this week.

Missouri didn’t have it’s best game last week against South Dakota, but it more than got the job done. A similar performance against Middle Tennessee maintains a legitimate feeling of optimism heading into a sold out Kansas State game. Imagine that atmosphere if fans are still on board with what Eli Drinkwitz is building.

I have no idea where this season is headed. Maybe it goes completely off the rails in October. But, for now, that hope remains. And, as my favorite movie once said, “hope is a good thing. Maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies.”

So, please, don’t let our hope die this week.