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Better late than never for Barry Odom and Missouri to find a staple win

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With 4 more games left, Mizzou needs to win at least one conference game for the sake of the program. (Going 4-0 would be nice too.)

NCAA Football: Middle Tennessee at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

It is officially “garbage time” for Mizzou’s season and Barry Odom. Considering the incomparable amount of pressure a first-year SEC head coach has, getting at least one staple win would be a small but almost necessary step for future success under Odom.

How has Odom done so far as a first year head coach?

Injuries and iffy previous recruiting years have certainly brought down Mizzou’s season. So it’s difficult to measure how well Odom has done as a head coach. I think the majority would say he has done a less than stellar job in preparing this team.

Gary Pinkel went 4-7 his first year as Mizzou’s coach, with blow out losses to Nebraska, Texas, Michigan State, and Colorado. Pinkel even lost to Bowling Green at home in his first game. Overall, Gary’s first year schedule was tougher than Odom’s, considering Nebraska, Texas, and Colorado were all ranked in the top 25.

So maybe this does not justify Odom’s performance as a first year head coach. Could Odom be in over is head? It will take at least another year to figure that out.

By the way, the grass is not greener on the other side of the river.

Barry Odom and Illinois’ Lovie Smith are in similar situations. Both are in one of the two most competitive conferences, both coaches hold a 2-6 record, both have a lack of talent (Illinois more than Mizzou), and both are recruiting the same territories. Which ... yeah ... that’s going to be a big factor going forward.

If Illinois gives their new coach from the NFL a second year, so should Mizzou. Maybe it’s the whole ‘being in the SEC’ mantra that has set higher expectations for Mizzou’s fan base. Maybe its the unexpected success Mizzou saw in 2013 and 2014. Whatever it is, Missouri needs a reality check on the program’s situation. But if Odom does go 0-4 for the remainder of the schedule, I would expect that his seat becomes a little bit warm going into year 2.

A staple win is a necessity, going bowling a luxury.

Do you think Mizzou can reach 4-8? Maybe. The question is, what games can they win? South Carolina and Vanderbilt are what appears to be the two easiest games left on the schedule. If Odom is going to get a staple conference win this year, it will be against one of these two teams. It he does not capture a conference win by the end of the season, recruiting and building moral will become very difficult for Odom.

If Mizzou can win against USC and Vandy, and somehow upset a weakish Tennessee or Arkansas, then expect Mizzou to take a bowl bid at 5-7, unlike last season.

Pboggs’ Mizzou bowl game projections:

90% chance: 4-8 or worse: no bowl game

10% chance: 5-7 or 6-6 record: Birmingham Bowl or Texas Bowl