Updated: Oct 21, 2019
Missouri football success has always been built off of being an under-the-radar team that always outperforms what their recruiting rankings and pre-season projections say. Barry Odom has had major ups and downs as a coach and has faced criticism all during his tenure. Despite all of that, Barry is delivering what he always promised. A turnaround. "This is a turnaround and It's going to take time." Odom said in a 2017 press conference. Fast forward a year later and the perception has totally changed.
Odom has lead the Tigers to an 8-4 record with a #23 next to their name. He has made Mizzou a tough team to go up against in the SEC. It was a roller coaster of a season with a majority of fans calling for Barry Odom to be fired at one point but somehow, someway, he got the Tigers to pull through one of the most nightmarish stretches in Mizzou football history to go undefeated in the month of November.
Missouri is not a school people expect 8 or 9 wins out of every year. Most people you talk to on twitter seem to think Mizzou should be an NY6 bowl team every year. That just is not the case. That being said, Mizzou is a school definitely capable of have an 11 or 12 win season every once and a while and that´s the way it has always been. Could Barry Odom change that?
Like I said, Mizzou has never been the type of school to be a division favorite every year, but Odom has promised the fans and media that he is going to win here. He is definitely heading in the right direction. Odom has improved each year he has been at the helm and there is no reason to think he can´t continue that. So is it a pipe dream to think he can turn Mizzou into an SEC power? Maybe, but I wouldn't blame you. Of course, Odom won´t rake in recruiting classes like Alabama or Georgia every year and he won´t be a perennial CFP contender, but he has the potential to compete with the forces in the SEC. I´ll explain why.
Now this isn't to say players at other programs like Arkansas or LSU or whoever don´t like their coaches, but Odom's players love him and he has consistently gotten them to buy in to his plan. You see his players talk about him like family. Barry connects with a lot of recruits and their families which is very important. Odom knows what it's like to struggle in life and he wants to teach all of his players how to handle adversity. You won't find too many coaches who truly care about their players like Odom.
All the concerns people may have had about Odom have been totally thrown out and incinerated over the past 2 months. The narratives that he can't beat a good team and can't recruit the area have been proven false. Odom defeated #11 Florida and really should've beaten #12 Kentucky but he still had a strong Finish besides that. The St.Louis recruiting was tremendous this year and there was definitely a change to the way they approached the local kids this year. Gabe DeArmond of PowerMizzou.com shares what DC Ryan Walters said when asked about recruiting St.Louis, particularly S Jalani Williams.
It appears that this is the approach Missouri will take with a lot of the local talent. That being said, recruiting has seen a tremendous improvement between Barry Odom's first year, and now. If he starts winning with what he has and continues to work his way up those rankings each year when it comes to recruiting and winning, more and more players will take notice of that and want to come play here. Odom could really thrive with what he has and the outlook is great.
Missouri is really starting to round into form of a true SEC program with the facilities being upgraded, the team consistently competing, and a coach like Odom really starting to establish himself as a fan favorite.
With the recent class Odom just hauled in that seems to have a few more commits coming soon and the season Missouri just had, they have gotten a lot of positive PR that they can build off of and it has really put them on a national stage. Now, as mentioned, Missouri will never be Alabama, but with what they have now and what the staff has been preaching and practicing, Missouri has itself set in a perfect position to succeed for years and make themselves known as a consistent contender in their division.
I have complete faith in Odom to potentially turn Mizzou into the top program we all know it can be with the right people behind it. Odom is finally that guy. People may still have their doubts about him, but if there's one thing we've learned about Odom, it is that he proves his doubters wrong over and over again, and that he will win here.