Missouri fell behind Arkansas early in its final game of the season and fans of the Tigers had to be thinking here we go again. They somehow pulled out an unimpressive win over a bad Arkansas team but it wasn’t easy. The Tigers’ defense kept them in the game once again. This time the offense was able to put up enough points for the win.
It was a disappointing season for Missouri football. What once seemed so promising to so many quickly fell off a cliff.
Quarterback Kely Bryant didn’t have the season most expected. The lesser talent of the Missouri roster versus the Clemson roster revealed that although Bryant is a good college quarterback, he isn’t an elite college quarterback. Anyone who had doubts now understands why Dabo Swinney chose Trevor Lawrence over Kelly Bryant. Add to that the injuries that Bryant had to deal with this season and it was a wasted season for the Missouri football program.
Running back Larry Rountree was expected to be a strength of the offense but we rarely saw that. Rountree ran for over 100 yards just three times. Those games came against West Virginia (104), Southeast Missouri State (142) and Mississippi (126). He had several games that were hard to explain. Rountree gained less than 60 yards against Wyoming (41), Vanderbilt (29), Kentucky (58), Georgia (24), Florida (30) and Tennessee (43). Rountree should be back next season but he will likely look into the NFL draft.
I could go on and on listing players who disappointed. Include Albert O. on the list. If I included coaches who disappointed this list would be even longer.
There were some good performances for the Tigers. Senior linebacker Cale Garrett was terrific until his season ended with a pectoral tendon injury. Sophomore linebacker Nick Bolton led the team in tackles with 100, double the number of the next closest defender.
It was, however, a rough season for the Tigers overall. An opening game loss at Wyoming told us early on that this was not going to be the season many Missouri fans were hoping for, but nobody knew just how bad it was going to become. Fans got excited when the Tigers won five games in a row, but a closer look at the teams they beat would have told us that the run was more about who Missouri played and not how good the team was.
A five-game winning streak was followed by a five-game losing streak that ultimately cost Barry Odom his job. Athletic Director Jim Sterk said that the program lost momentum because of the losing this season.
As a program, we had tremendous momentum coming into the 2019 season with the opening of the new south end zone facility as well as other strategic investments in our football program. However, we lost a great deal of that energy during the last half of the season. This decision was difficult to make but was necessary.University of Missouri Director of Athletics Jim Sterk
Sterk went on to talk about how Missouri should compete for SEC championships and consistently play in the postseason.
Mizzou enjoys a winning football tradition and has the necessary resources and commitment to compete at the highest level. We strive to achieve excellence, and we expect to compete for Southeastern Conference titles, consistently play in the postseason and represent Mizzou the right way on and off the field.University of Missouri Director of Athletics Jim Sterk
This season cost the program a lot of money because of the postseason ban and the lower attendance due to the team’s performance on the field. Ultimately, that’s what got Barry Odom fired. It’s all about money. Universities will say it’s not about the money when it comes to paying the players but then they will turn around and fire a coach because of loss of revenue.
The head coach search is on. There will be a lot of speculation. We should know within a few weeks who will take over as the new coach. Until then rumors will fly. A Missouri man lost his job after coaching through an extremely difficult time for the program. People will still want the job, but the cost of a head coach might have gone up for Missouri to bring in a quality coach.