A Fastidious Hat

Turkey Tom


What's At Stake On Saturday E-mail
Written by The True Son   
Friday, 30 October 2009 00:27

I don’t think it’s a stretch to call Saturday’s game against Colorado the biggest of the season. You could make the case that Nebraska was bigger but despite the loss we knew the North was still wide open at that point and by all accounts it still is. Okie State and Texas were obviously much tougher opponents but we also knew the odds of the Tigers winning those games were relatively minimal. (Or we at least figured that out after seeing Blaine hobble around on his bum ankle like Mark Mangino after his daily helping of three XL Domino’s Pizzas and family size bucket of KFC fried chicken. Marky don’t do that grilled shit.)

But how big is it really? I think the absolute worst case for Mizzou this year is they end up with five wins. And that would take a total meltdown over the final five games. I’m confident that even if Gabbert has to quarterback in a wheelchair they can still find a way to at least beat a couple of the junior high teams that are left on their schedule.

The fact of the matter is most Tiger fans would chalk up a five- or six-win season up to the turnover from last year’s roster and a season derailing injury to Big Blaine. Yes, hundreds of Pinkel hating Tigerboarders will combust into flames but reasonable Tiger fans are not going to start panicking until things go south in 2010. As I’ve maintained all along, the Tigers are playing with house money in ’09. Despite last season being somewhat of a disappointment, the last two years were good enough that Pinkel and his staff are afforded a bad year.

(That’s not to say that the sane Tiger fans won’t be offering up some harsh criticism of GP, Yost, Steck and the rest of the crew if they do in fact end up with that worst-case scenario. Especially if they show as little fight as they did against Texas.)

So what the rest of this season is really about, and really has always been about, is positioning the Tigers for the next two seasons when it should be reasonable to expect Mizzou to compete for a Big 12 title. And when I say compete I mean actually have at least a 40 percent chance of winning and going to a BCS bowl. I know the North and maybe even nine wins are still in play for this year, but like I said in my Post-game Thoughts post earlier this week, who really gives a fuck about the North this year?

Worst-case, where does a five- or six-win season (that’s the number of victories that I’m guessing most fans would consider a major disappointment. Seven wins is tolerable. Eight wins is pretty solid and nine wins is best-case.) put the Tigers moving forward? I think it severely limits what we can expect from Mizzou in the next two years. I think worst–case this year means we can really only expect about nine wins as the best-case scenario for next year. And we probably won’t be able to realistically expect them to have much of a shot against a top five team, which I’m assuming next year’s Big 12 South winner will be.

But a win tomorrow puts the Tigers on the fast-track to salvaging their season. Maybe a win gives the Tigers their swagger back and they go on to win eight games, secure a tolerable bowl game and put them in a great position to win 10+ the next two years. If you can win eight games in a year where as many things go wrong for Mizzou as have gone wrong in this one then you’re program is in pretty solid shape.

Colorado is far from good despite beating kU. Not long ago they looked like one of the worst teams in the history of the Big 12 and I think Dan Hawkins might be the worst coach in all of college football.

But in this wacky season they have about as good a chance as any other team of winning the division. And we’ve seen many times before that weird things happen in games played in Boulder. Within two weeks this went from being a game every Tiger fan was chalking up as a W to a game we think the Tigers should pull out but aren’t exactly brimming with confidence about.

Ultimately we won’t know how big this game is until a couple years down the road when we have a wider perspective. In ’05 when Brad Smith was lying facedown on the field against Iowa State with his team down 10 and the offense looking helpless we had no way of knowing that an 18-year-old Chase Daniel was about to lead a comeback that would ultimately save Gary Pinkel’s job. Crucial moments like that have a funny way of presenting themselves.

But as of right now this game seems like it’s a crossroads type game for the Tigers. Win and the last three weeks were a product of poor luck, a few mental breakdowns here and there and some pretty damn good opponents. Lose and things could continue spiraling downward. And as I’ve explained, whichever way the season turns dramatically impacts future expectations.

It seems like a big one. Down the road we may find out that it was just another game, win or lose, and didn’t really have a major impact on the program. Or maybe it sets the stage for the rest of the season and consequently the next two seasons. Only time will tell.

As always, M-I-Z.

Comments (2)
written by Tiger Trucker, October 30, 2009
Im with you brother.... Z-O-U
written by Big Head, October 30, 2009

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