So, how damaging is the Texas Bowl?
The way Missouri lost the Texas Bowl will cost it all the way up until the first game of 2010. Hearing Nebraska fans justifiably this time lording it over the Tigers and Kansas fans - not justifiably - joining in. Largely it is perception. But that perception is there is little reason to believe Missouri will be a pre-season Top 25 team. And not opening in the Top 25 is its own punishment.
It doesn't HAVE to be damaging. But it COULD be. It could simply be a bad day at the office in a game Missouri wasn't all that motivated to play. But it could be a team that loses its best player on both sides of the ball, has a quarterback who looked to have some problems and doesn't have a guy coming back that he throws too much and a coaching staff that has some tough questions to answer this offseason. Time will tell.
Is there a positive to take out of it?
No. Not one. Well, Grant Ressel has two more years. Other than that, no.
Zilch. Nada. Zippo. Zero. None. Does that about cover it?
Final review: Was the season a success?
It was okay. Not great, maybe not even all that good, but I said before the season eight wins would tell me Missouri wasn't going to just fade away again. They won eight. I'm not going to throw that away because of a bowl game even if the performance was dreadful.
I've already shared my thoughts on this in Sunday's Kansas City Star. The season wound up good enough, but not as good as it should have. The Nebraska game, the Baylor game and this one are losses that linger. The two people I believe need to do the most soul searching over the long winter are the two rookie coordinators. Yost and Steck collectively were the worst performers for Missouri in the Texas Bowl.
The basketball Tigers got another easy win and take center stage. Are you getting an idea how good this team is?
Yes. When the frontcourt plays as it did against Georgia, they're a tournament team. The question is how often the frontcourt can play that way. I have no idea what the answer is.
For some reason you've been dissing Georgia for the last month. That is not Tennessee-Martin. It is an SEC team and a decent one. Missouri beat the Dawgs with the best game from top to bottom of the year. MU beat Illinois because of hot shooting. Missouri beat Georgia because of everything and for the first time because the bigs came to play as a group. I like Missouri's chances of making the NCAA Tournament again a heck of a lot more than I did the morning of December 23.
Give me your view on the Big 12.
Kansas, Texas and Kansas State are at one level. And I think Missouri is a team on the rise. The Tigers could still finish in the predicted seventh place, but could also rise as high as fourth in a Big 12 that top to bottom looks as tough as it may ever have been.
KU and UT are clearly the top two teams, maybe in the entire country. K-State is a tournament lock and a top four team. Outside of that, nobody is a sure thing, but nobody is awful. They can all beat each other on any night. The three that protect the home court and avoid the big upset will make the dance. Missouri very well could be one of those three, but I'm not ready to say it WILL be.
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