Each Wednesday, PowerMizzou.com publisher Gabe DeArmond will answer questions from subscribers in our Tiger Mailbag. This feature will allow for longer, more in-depth answers than you may get on the message board on a daily basis. To have your question in next week's mailbag, send an email to Gabe at email@example.com. On to this week's inquiries:
muman01 asks: When is it realistic to expect the staff to start making recruiting inroads in the southeast?
GD: I guess it depends upon what you mean by inroads. If you mean when is Missouri going to go into SEC states and land kids with offers from schools like Florida, Georgia or LSU, I would say not for decades, if ever. They never did that in Texas or Oklahoma with kids with offers from those powerhouse schools. If you mean how long until they're getting solid next-level kids from those states, I'd say it needs to happen pretty soon, like in the next year or two. Because if you can't get the same level of kids from Georgia and Florida that you were getting from Texas in the last few years, then I think it's fair to ask exactly why you lessened your presence in Texas and increased it in those areas. I'm on record as saying I think Missouri's best moves would have been to remain strong in Texas and to put increased focus on the Big Ten states to get kids from there that want to play in the SEC. Because if the long term plan is to lock down Missouri and supplement it with kids that Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Auburn and LSU didn't offer, well, I don't think that's a plan that can lead to long-term sustained success.
band4ever asks: Based on what you've seen from the basketball team(s) so far, do you think we hold serve in our fourth successive Braggin Rights game or end up with our second loss this season?
GD: We were talking about this last night. I think I'd have it as pretty much a pick 'em line. As of today, I would pick Missouri to win, but it's really a toss-up. I go with the Tigers because the game they play (defense and rebounding) allows them to win even if they're not shooting well. Illinois makes a ton of three-pointers and that's been a big key to its success. Can the Illini beat a good team when the long ball isn't dropping? They very well may be able to, but I need to see them do it. So, today, I'm picking Mizzou, but if they played this game ten times, I don't think either team would win more than six.
cbwallace asks: If money were no issue, how were potential outside hire candidates for for OC deemed deficient relative to the internal hire choice?
GD: People continue to make the mistake of viewing this as a one-sided decision. Pinkel doesn't get to just take a look at all the coaches in the candidate pool and choose one. That person has to agree to take the job as well. I have said that I have it on good information that Mizzou offered the job to at least one outside candidate, they may have offered it to two and they talked to far more than that. I don't know if Josh Henson was the very best candidate in the country, but it would seem to me that he was the very best candidate who wanted the job. It's not ALL about how much you're willing to pay.
IHateCornhuskers asks: What are the realistic expectations for the football tema next year? Are those expectations good enough for Gary Pinkel to keep his job?
GD: Let me break the schedule into a few categories for this.
Games Missouri SHOULD ABSOLUTELY win: Murray State, Toledo, TBD non-conference opponent
Games Missouri SHOULD win, though a loss wouldn't be out of the question: Indiana, at Kentucky
Toss-Up Games: Tennessee, at Ole Miss, at Vanderbilt
Games Missouri SHOULD lose, but a win wouldn't be out of the question: Florida, Texas A&M, South Carolina
Games I can't see Missouri winning: at Georgia
So, I guess I'd look at best-case, if everything is perfect, there are no injuries, etc, scenario as probably 10-2 (I don't see them winning all three of Florida, A&M and SC). I'd look at realistic as 5-7 to 7-5. Better than that is a good season, worse than that is a complete failure. I can't see Pinkel coming back after 5-7. If it's 6-6 or 7-5, to me, it's all about how they got there. Were they competitive in the losses against the elite teams? Were they a disciplined team that appeared to be well-coached? Were there any big issues off the field? All of those things come into play and have to figure into any decision that would have to be made.
To me, anything less than 7-5 isn't very good. But I'll fully admit that if the wheels completely came off, 3-and-9 isn't out of the question. And if you think it is, I suggest you quit thinking with your heart and start being honest about how good this team was this year.
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