There’s nothing like a bye week to help reset a college football season that has gone off the rails. Since the Missouri Tigers last took the field (a 35-14 throttling at the hands of Texas A&M) there has actually been a shred of good news.

Last Tuesday, Luther Burden, the #1 ranked receiver recruit in the country committed to Missouri over Georgia and Alabama which was, undoubtedly, Mizzou’s biggest “win” of the season so far.

Mizzou’s season has been a forgettable one indeed, but the Tigers currently are in possession of the nation’s #15 recruiting class (according to Rivals.com) which has (somewhat) lessened the blow of having the country’s last-ranked defense a team that appears to be getting worse.

So can the 2021 season still be salvaged for Missouri? For the prognosticators out there that picked the Tigers to win eight or nine games, perhaps it cannot. Head coach Eli Drinkwitz, however, looks forward to the challenge of turning the season around in the final five games.

We had the opportunity to reflect on what we need to do to improve.” Drinkwitz stated during his weekly press conference. “Focused on some tangible things that we feel like we need to improve in order to finish out these five games.”

Eli Drinkwitz

Watch Eli Drinkwitz’s press conference from 10/26/21

The Tigers currently sit at 3-4 (0-3 in the SEC) and have yet to notch a power five victory this season. They have been outscored 97-38 in its last two conference games and possess the nation’s worst defense. This does not paint the most positive picture but there is certainly room for growth throughout these next five weeks.

Improvements Missouri can make during the final five games

  • It starts with beating Vanderbilt on Saturday. This is a must-win for Drinkwitz as the Commodores are simply not good. Coming off of a bye, the Tigers need to get back in the win column against a first-year head coach in what will be a completely docile environment.
  • South Carolina is another must-win. That game takes place on November 13th and could be the final opportunity for a win on the season. The Gamecocks have a first-year head coach and are very similar to Missouri in that they’ve been porous against some of the better competition in the league.
  • Compete against Arkansas/Florida. We know both teams are superior to Missouri right now and that’s obvious. We need to see signs of growth from these Tigers and you cannot continue to have efforts like you’ve seen recently against Tennessee and Texas A&M. If you happen to pull an upset in one of these games you still have a shot at bowl eligibility (which seems like a pipe dream currently).
  • Improve ever so slightly defensively. It appears Steve Wilks was not the right hire at the defensive coordinator position. That will take care of itself eventually but this defense HAS to improve. Whether it be scheme, talent, effort or all the above, this defense needs to exert itself in some meaningful way in the final weeks of the season.

Avatar of Clint Switzer

By Clint Switzer

Full-time sports fan, part-time contributor to society. Starcade Media co-founder, podcast host, filmmaker and writer.

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