Barry Odom’s fourth year as head coach of the Missouri Tigers could be his most important yet as rising expectations coupled with a mangable schedule have fans and pundits alike making lavish predictions.
Despite a potential bowl ban still hanging ominously over the program, many believe that the talent and depth is there to create a special season in Columbia. The addition of grad-transfer quarterback Kelly Bryant was a massive coup for the Tigers. His experience and leadership are just what the program needed to transfer smoothly away from the Drew Lock era.
5 Bold Predictions
- 1. Missouri will not beat a ranked team. Barry Odom secured his first road win with a trashing of Florida last November. Scoring a victory over a ranked team could be more difficult in 2019 as, currently, there are only two ranked teams on the schedule in #8 Florida and #3 Georgia. Missouri has manhandled Florida each of the past two seasons but with the way they played against Miami, it’s not out of the question that the Gators fall out of the rankings entirely by the time they come to Columbia on 11/16. Claiming Missouri will have trouble winning at Georgia is not exactly the boldest of predictions, but finding other games against ranked opponents could prove to be few and far between.
- 2. Kelly Bryant throws for 20 touchdowns. A quick glance at Bryant’s junior year numbers at Clemson reveals a pedestrian 13 touchdown passes. Many believe Bryant’s true strength at Mizzou will be on the ground, but don’t sleep on his passing ability. With a devastating ground game and plethora of wide receivers/tight ends to spread the ball around to, it’s likely you will see his passing numbers increase exponentially.
- 3. Missouri’s rushing attack will be top 3 in the SEC. The Tigers return 1,700 yards of ground production from 2018. Offensive coordinator Derek Dooley helped transition the Missouri offense from air-raid in 2017 to controlled and physical last season. Expect more of the same with Kelly Bryant leading the attack with Larry Roundtree III, Tyler Badie and a stable of capable backfield bodies.
- 4. Missouri will play in a bowl game. Not the most ambitious of predictions most years, however, the team is currently ineligible to play in a postseason game. Missouri is currently knee-deep in the NCAA appeal process and the results should be revealed during the season. If Mississippi State’s recent scrape with the NCAA is any indication, Missouri could have its bowl ban lifted although we can never be sure about the unpredictable nature of NCAA’s infraction enforcement.
- 5. Multiple crowds at Memorial Stadium will be 60,000 plus. Missouri has not enjoyed a crowd of over 60,000 since September of 2015 when the Tigers beat South Carolina during Drew Lock’s first start. Average attendance has been around 52,0000 since 2015 and head coach Barry Odom even tried buying 5,000 tickets for people to attend the Arkansas game last year. With a renovated south end zone, high-profile home schedule and renewed fan optimism, there will likely be a nice attendance spike which would be a welcomed change.