ST. LOUIS, MO- Barry Odom finally got the “statement win” his tenure as Missouri Head Football Coach desperately needed, when the Tigers went on the road and shellacked Florida 38-17 in Gainesville on Saturday.
It doesn’t assure ANYTHING down the stretch against teams the Tigers really SHOULD beat in Vanderbilt, Tennessee and Arkansas. But the win against a top 15 program, especially after a soul-crushing loss at home the previous week against Kentucky, puts an eight win regular season back in Missouri’s grasp which would assure Odom’s return next fall.
That’s a good thing, if you’ve been paying attention to the rumor mill out there in the college football world. Now open jobs at Kansas and Maryland have yielded lists with lots of overlapping candidates, and that’s without potential openings at schools like North Carolina, Louisville, Kansas State and Rutgers, among Power 5 schools, who could fire their coaches, or powers like Ohio State and Oklahoma who could lose coaches to retirement or the NFL.
Matt Wells (Utah State), Ken Niumatalolo (Navy), Matt Norvell (Memphis), Les Miles, Dave Doeren (NC State), Seth Littrell (North Texas), Dino Babers (Syracuse) are going to be on A LOT of lists. Iowa State’s Jason Campbell and Purdue’s Jeff Brohm too, along with some wild cards like Mike Leach (Washington State) and Mike Gundy (Oklahoma State). All have pluses and minuses, but between their price tag and actual interest in the job, the end result of a search could be dicey.
Some of the “conventional wisdom” going around in recent weeks was that if Odom was struggling now with a veteran offensive line and a likely first round draft pick at quarterback, what will happen next season when he has a less experienced O-Line, and the possibility that next year’s starting QB isn’t on the roster right now? If this year’s team really has turned a corner with the Florida win, then Odom will have the right to figure out how next year will unfold in Columbia on his own terms.