1) Let me just start saying this is the worst week of football season. There’s a game…but there’s not really a game. No disrespect to Southeast Missouri State, their players and their coaches and fans. They work just as hard as anyone in college football. It’s just not the same level. This game isn’t losable for Missouri. I mean, nothing is 100%. But this is 99.9% a victory for Missouri before the game starts.
For proof, Mizzou has played 16 games against FCS opponents since Gary Pinkel took over as the head coach in 2001. The average score of those games has been 51.8-9.6. If you take out the inexplicable 43 points Missouri State scored in 2017, Mizzou has allowed an average of 7.33 points to the FCS teams it has played. None of the games has been remotely close. The worst was the Delaware State game in 2016 that featured a second-half running clock in a 79-0 win by a Missouri team that finished 4-8.
The one I always go back to is a 44-21 win over Marshall in 1992. That Tiger team started 1-8 with the lone win over Marshall before beating Kansas State and Kansas to end the season. It averaged 15.5 points in the eight losses and scored nearly three times that against the Thundering Herd. Marshall was coached by future Georgia head coach Jim Donnan, featured future NFL receiver Troy Brown and finished 12-3 and won the D-IAA national championship. And lost to a terrible Mizzou team 44-21. Yes, things are different now than they were in 1992. There’s more parity. There’s not enough parity to make this game interesting. I get why these games are played. I just hate that they are played. It’s essentially everyone pretending it’s the same as every other week because you only get 12-15 games a year so you want every one to be a big deal, but it just isn’t the same.
2) There’s a balance in scheduling. I get that. You have to have what amounts to a week off when you play in a major conference. You want to give your fans games they want to see, but more than games they want to see, they want wins. Especially if you’re trying to build up a program, you have to schedule intelligently. There’s no reason to play four non-conference Power Five games. But you can also provide at least some entertainment value in those games, which Saturday really won’t. Given that I’d like the FCS games to go away, here’s my ideal non-conference schedule for Mizzou, assuming that we’re still talking about four games for the time being. Again, this is ideal. I’m not saying all of these teams would play these games. I’m going to give a group of schools in each category that are the example of the type of game I’d like to see.
Good Power Five opponent: Michigan, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Washington.
Regional Power Five opponent: Nebraska, Illinois, Kansas, Kansas State, Colorado, Iowa, Iowa State.
Interesting Group of Five opponent: Boise State, SMU, Houston, Appalachian State
Other FBS team: I don’t care on this one. This is the throwaway game. Play it against whoever you want, but make it an FBS team.
There are just too many games that are terrible. My non-conference schedule gives you a couple years of Wisconsin, Kansas State, SMU, then a couple of Michigan, Iowa State, Boise. Those are fun games. They include new places Mizzou fans can go. And they aren’t automatic losses. I’m not asking for Ohio State, Clemson and Oregon on the schedule. I’m just asking for more intriguing games.
3) Let’s dive a little bit more into what happened against Kentucky.
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