Barry Odom has two sons. One is a freshman in high school, the other is in eighth grade.
No matter what their future holds, the former Missouri linebacker and current Tigers football coach wants them to one day experience the nature of the Mizzou vs. Kansas rivalry.
“I want them to be able to play Kansas,” Odom said Tuesday. “That’s a big deal. If you live in Missouri, that’s what you want. If you talk to the people over there, I’m sure that’s what they want.”
Not just his sons, either.
“Missouri and Kansas should always play,” Odom said. “They should play in every sport.”
One day after the men’s basketball programs announced a six-year series renewing the storied rivalry, Odom said he was appreciative of both schools and their administrations working together to bring the Border War back.
In news releases Monday night, both schools’ athletic directors said the return of the basketball series could lead to KU and MU agreeing to resume playing in other sports.
While it’s unsure if the football teams will ever square up in a nonconference game — especially with the nature of scheduling being done years in advance — Odom didn’t mince words about what he thought of the rivalry.
“Hopefully, some day, that every sport will be recognized and the ability to play each other,” Odom said. “That rivalry, it’s still there, it goes back for generations. It’s going to continue to go to generations forward and that’s something that would benefit our student-athletes, the experiences they have in college.”
MU doesn’t have a schedule opening until 2026, its only nonconference opponent that year currently being another rival in Illinois. Kansas doesn’t have an opening until 2022. The Tigers do have a two-year series against Kansas State from 2022-23.
While his current players don’t have any memories playing Kansas, Odom recalled a few from his years as a Tiger.
The famous 2007 win at Arrowhead Stadium still comes to mind for obvious reasons, Odom said. Tigers quarterback Chase Daniel threw for 361 yards and three touchdowns, ruining the Jayhawks’ perfect season with a 36-28 win and lifting Mizzou to No. 1 in the nation. At the time, Odom was director of operations for former MU coach Gary Pinkel.
As a player, he pointed out an end-of-season game to wrap up the 1996 season, Odom’s freshman year. The game didn’t have much riding on it as far as bowl implications, so little like the circumstances surrounding the 2007 game. It was just an “us against them” kind of showdown.
Despite the low stakes, Odom said he the game still sticks out in his mind.
“We won that one, too,” Odom said of the 42-25 victory. “You tend to remember some of those.”