SDS Roundtable: Missouri's over/under is 5.5 wins. How many games will the Tigers win in 2020?
Each SDS roundtable discussion involves the SDS staff providing individual answers and comments to questions covering a wide range of sports and non-sports topics. In this discussion, we ask the question: Missouri has a new coach, a new offense and another new quarterback. The over/under win projection has the Tigers falling short of a bowl. How many games will the Tigers win in 2020?
A bit of background …
Missouri has hit the reset button. Eli Drinkwitz is 1 of 4 new head coaches in the SEC and, at 37, he’s the youngest coach in the conference. Drinkwitz has an offensive background and drew praise for his work with quarterbacks at Boise State and NC State. One of his first gigs was working on Gus Malzahn’s staff at Arkansas State. So he has been building toward this. Is he ready? We’ll soon find out. Since winning back-to-back SEC East titles in 2013 and 2014, the Tigers are 4 games under .500.
They haven’t finished a season ranked since 2014. They haven’t won a bowl game since 2014. They haven’t had a winning year in the SEC since 2014. Are the Tigers a bowl team in 2020? The over/under win projection of 5.5 speaks to how close it will be.
Connor O’Gara, Senior national columnist
Mizzou is a total mystery. Even though Eli Drinkwitz was able to retain some of the staff from the previous regime, I still don’t know what to expect from this offense. It’ll be a new starting quarterback running an entirely different offense than what we saw with Derek Dooley. I like the edition of Damon Hazelton as a new go-to receiver, but we don’t even know for sure that he’ll be eligible yet. Fitting.
I also think this defense will inevitably take a step back without Barry Odom. A top-20 unit lost a lot of talent and could be in for a rough Year 1. There are really only 4 automatic wins on that schedule with Central Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Eastern Michigan and Louisiana. That’s the good news. The bad news is I can’t trust Mizzou to go on the road to beat BYU, nor can I assume that they’ll be able to handle a veteran Kentucky team coming off an 8-win season.
And no, I can’t assume Mizzou will automatically roll over Arkansas. Both have first-year coaches, and both have a massive uphill battle to establish their respective cultures with these COVID-19 restrictions.
This could very much be a transition year for the Tigers. If you’re a Mizzou fan, celebrate 6 wins like it’s the Super Bowl.
Michael Bratton, News editor
I don’t have a ton to base this pick on because I know nothing about Shawn Robinson or Eli Drinkwitz’s offense, but I tend to lean toward the over with Mizzou.
Unlike the other first-year head coaches in the league, Missouri has retained key coaches on one side of the ball and that could prove to be incredibly valuable now that spring football was lost. If Missouri’s defense continues to its part, even with Barry Odom gone to Arkansas, the Tigers could surprise some people in 2020.
The more I learn of Drinkwitz, the more I like his hire. His staff has several SEC ties and has been a part of some very successful seasons. I will be interested to see how long Drinkwitz keeps his offensive coordinator duties, though, as most coaches surrender that role once they realize how demanding it can be to do two jobs on game day.
For now, Drinkwitz has the confidence in himself to get it done as Missouri’s OC and that could prove to be right decision as he enters his first season as an SEC head coach. I’ll pick Mizzou to make a bowl game this season.
Neil Blackmon, Florida columnist
I’m not sold on the Drinkwitz hire, though I understand why Missouri had to think outside the box and take a chance on a rising young coach. I just worry that we don’t know enough about Drinkwitz after 1 year at Applachian State to be certain he’s the dude.
There’s also the matter of an open quarterback competition and the fact the Tigers have to replace the bulk of the meager offensive production they had a season ago. Keeping Ryan Walters on as defensive coordinator will help ease the transition for Drinkwitz, but where is the 6th win on that schedule — especially if the Tigers lose at BYU — which seems likely?
Adam Spencer, Newsletter editor
I am a big fan of what new coach Eliah Drinkwitz is doing so far. He has landed some commits from St. Louis, which is a must for a Mizzou coach, and he seems to be popular with the players. Not having spring practices hurt the Tigers (as well as many other teams), as Drinkwitz hasn’t been able to install his offense on the field and hasn’t been able to get likely starting QB Shawn Robinson up to speed.
However, I still think 5.5 wins is low for the Tigers. I count at least 6 wins on the schedule — all 4 nonconference games, vs. Vanderbilt and vs. Arkansas in Kansas City. Then, a homecoming game against Kentucky and a trip to South Carolina are both very winnable, too. This could be an 8-win team.
Obviously, as a Mizzou graduate, I understand that the Tigers will have at least 1 utterly inexplicable loss, but even when you account for that, I think this team finishes with 6 or 7 wins. LB Nick Bolton is a potential first-round pick and RB Larry Rountree III is a sturdy, reliable back. If Robinson can play slightly better than Kelly Bryant, Drinkwitz’s first year in Columbia should be a success.
Chris Wright, Executive editor
I’ll say this: Missouri certainly has the easiest schedule in the conference and one of the easiest among Power 5 teams in the country.
It doesn’t get much more favorable than playing Vandy and Arkansas every year. The rotational crossover this year is at rebuilding Mississippi State. The nonconference slate doesn’t include another Power 5 program (though BYU is a decent independent).
If Georgia or Florida or LSU or Alabama (or Clemson) had this schedule, critics would lose their mind. “They ain’t played nobody, Paaaaawl!” If Tennessee had this schedule, we’d be talking about the Vols as a possible 10-2 dark-horse in the East.
There most definitely are 8 winnable games on the schedule: Question is, is this Missouri team capable of finding them?
I don’t see it.
Can they win 6? If they can’t, against this slate, that doesn’t bode very well for Drinkwitz.
- LSU’s over/under is 9.5 wins. How many games will Tigers win?
- Alabama’s over/under is 10.5 wins. How many games will Tide win?
- Auburn’s over/under is 8.5 wins. How many games will Tigers win?
- Texas A&M’s over/under is 9.5 wins. How many games will Aggies win?
- Who wins more games in 2020: Ole Miss or Mississippi State?
- Florida’s over/under is 9.5 wins. How many games will Gators win?
- Georgia’s over/under is 10.5 wins. How many games will Dawgs win?
- Tennessee’s over/under is 7.5 wins. How many games will Vols win?
- Kentucky’s over/under is 6.5 wins. How many games will Cats win?