Not much was expected of the Missouri Tigers in 2020 under first-year head coach Eli Drinkwitz.

Not only did the COVID-19 pandemic wipe out the important spring season, but the Tigers also had one of the toughest schedules in the SEC.

After going an impressive 5-5, things are looking up for the Tigers under Drinkwitz entering 2021. On Saturday, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey was at Mizzou for the SEC/Big 12 Challenge game against TCU, and he had plenty of praise for Drinkwitz and the other first-year SEC coaches (via

I think Eli, Mike (Leach), Lane (Kiffin), Sam (Pittman), last year’s four new coaches, had we talked at this time about expectations, we walked into March, April, May, everything was wiped off the table. So you have to give credit, I think, to every program, and I’ve said this publicly, I think every one of these teams should be invited back to Homecoming, which I know is a big deal here in Columbia — I don’t know if it’s 10 years or 20 years — and celebrated for the effort to get through this. But a really remarkable effort. Missouri, a tough first game with Alabama. We were on the phone about COVID testing and learning a lot, learning about team departures, and then, I haven’t evaluated it, but enough displacement within the schedule, maybe the most disruption of any team. As much disruption, I’ll say that. And the ability to adapt and adjust and continue forward, I think, is a tribute to the leadership Eli provided to his team.”

How will the Tigers fare under Drinkwitz in 2021? It sounds like Sankey and  others are confident the Tigers are heading in the right direction.