Campus Corner

Ask Tod: Man, Mizzou fans are a depressed bunch right now

Middle Tennessee stunned Mizzou last weekend in Columbia.
Middle Tennessee stunned Mizzou last weekend in Columbia. The Associated Press

Intra-squad scrimmages aren’t a great tool for assessing a team.

If the team lacks talent and athleticism across the board, it may not show up going against equally unskilled and untalented teammates.

That’s not a knock a Missouri men’s basketball, which plays its annual Black and Gold Scrimmage on Friday night at Mizzou Arena.

Only time will tell how good this team is and I’m on the record plenty saying I believe the Tigers will be improved from the last two seasons.

Still, the greatest intrigue for the Halloween & Hoops event — other than the women’s team’s decision not to play its scrimmage — is in the form of bragging rights during the slam-dunk contest.

“I’ve got some things for the dunk contest …,” freshman forward Willie Jackson said. “It’s definitely going to be crazy, because I get to freelance and jump and do what I want to do. It’s going to be fun.”

Jackson is invested enough in the dunk contest that he stayed after practice Monday and worked on a few dunks.

“I’ll be ready,” he said. “Trust me, I will be ready.”

Mizzou might just show it’s got more athleticism than seasons past in the pregame pageantry than in the game itself.

“Willie’s a good dunker, but I think I’m going to bring a few things out that he hasn’t seen before,” fellow freshman forward Mitchell Smith said. “It should be a good dunk show.”

Jackson’s former high school teammate at Garfield Heights in Cleveland, shooting guard Frankie Hughes, also might get into the action along with rumors that sophomore point guard Terrence Phillips has some skills to show off.

“I might have a special guest appearance, try to do a little something to get the crowd involved,” Hughes said.

“D-Line Zou” didn’t really become a thing until players started getting drafted in the NFL. What exactly was D-Line Zou during Craig Kuligowski’s first eight seasons at Missouri? There’s still talent on the Tigers’ defensive line, but it’s forever going to look different, because the architect of “D-Line Zou” now lives in Miami, Fla. That doesn’t mean MU won’t continue to produce NFL-quality defensive linemen.

I don’t know that first-year football coach Barry Odom will make changes unless someone elects to leave the staff for another opportunity. What it Missouri wins the next five games 38-0? Would you change anything? Besides, there’s something to be said for continuity.

Man, people loved this hire and there are a lot of folks who wanted DeMontie Cross to return to his roots as a defensive coach for a long. Now that the road’s been bumpy through seven games — seven, which is less than two months of football — people act like it’s a travesty he wasn’t fired after the LSU game. I don’t get it. Yes, it’s been a frustrating year for the Mizzou defense and fans, but I’d advocate for giving Cross and Odom time to recruit to the scheme and another offseason to implement what he wants.

Work to get a new football complex built and see how basketball plays out.

The season isn’t over yet for football and basketball hasn’t even started, so I can’t answer that question without consulting a magic eight ball. However, I can tell you that the time Missouri football, men’s basketball and baseball all had losing records in the same academic year was 1934-35 … until last year. And there’s a chance it could happen again. Enjoy your weekend. At least Tigers fans are optimistic …

Nope, it will be like this forever. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.

It has to be basketball, considering that Missouri’s already 0-3 in conference on the gridiron. Kim Anderson’s crew wins at least five in SEC play this season.

Anderson’s job security — like the job security for literally every professional and college in the United States — is tied to winning. If Missouri puts together a respectable season and demonstrates that it’s on a path toward NCAA appearances and the upper echelon of the Southeastern Conference, he’ll stay. Personally, I think 14 wins is the baseline expectation for the season. Will that be enough to convince Jim Sterk, who is the third AD in Anderson’s tenure, the basketball program is in good hands? I have no idea.

Missouri plays Kentucky at 11 a.m. Saturday on the SEC Network. What you do with your weekend isn’t my concern. You’ve been a trooper, so no one will get mad if you take the kids to the park instead of watching the game.

I can confirm there’s a rumor. Also, there are two new coordinators this season with different schemes and different playbooks.

Pretty sure he participated in camp but seldom sees the field. Kind of self-explanatory.

I’m fairly happy — unless someone is dawdling on the road in front of me, then I become a rage-filled monster. It passes quickly when people move out of the way. Man, when my 2-year-old laughs or my 8-year-old wants to sword fight or I get a chance to snuggle on the couch with my wife, I don’t care about elections or football teams. Happiness is a choice. Go find it within yourself.

Tod Palmer: 816-234-4389, @todpalmer

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