(FootballSTL) -- The critics of Gary Pinkel were given fresh fodder on Saturday night. Mizzou was embarrassed by Texas A&M, falling behind 42-0 in the first half. 42-0!!! That was the Missouri program of old. One that couldn’t hope to compete against the college football powers.
I thought the Tigers had evolved past that but apparently not. The Mizzou team we saw on Saturday night in College Station looked like one that had just quit on its coach. The Tigers were humiliated on national television, and had their seven-year streak of bowl apperances snapped. As it turned out, a 5-7 record could have been a lot worse. Three of Mizzou’s victories came down to the final play. They easily could have lost to Arizona State, Central Florida and Tennessee. You can only imagine how the fan base would have felt about a 2-10 season.
In his defense, Pinkel had plenty of issues to deal with this season. His offensive line was riddled with injuries. He never could find a center to consistently snap the ball well. Quarterback James Franklin battled injuries also, and even when he could play he wasn’t nearly as good as he was a year ago. Backup quarterback Corbin Berkstresser didn’t look ready to take over the offense. Mizzou’s best player, Sheldon Richardson, made national news when he said Georgia played “old man football." Richardson then missed a key game against Syracuse while sitting out a suspension for violating team rules. Every team faces adversity, but Pinkel had more than his share.
Based on where the program was before Pinkel arrived, I believe he deserves another season. Frankly, I’d be shocked if he wasn’t given that chance. The only way he won’t be back next year is if he resigns. I wouldn’t expect that to happen.
Pinkel is a proud guy with a big ego. He wouldn’t want to end his tenure at Mizzou with a season like this. He’s responsible for putting Missouri football back on the map, for getting the team into the Southeastern Conference, and helping the university make millions off the football success.
He’s earned the right to have a bad season. True, he’s been unable to beat most of the highly-ranked teams on his schedule and the program is trending downwards.
But Pinkel inherited a team that was on life support. He’s recruited well. He’s 90-and-61 in his 12 years as head coach. Give him another year to figure out the SEC and get the Tigers back on track.
Just changing coaches doesn’t always mean you’re making a positive change. Kansas thought they could get to the next level when they fired Mark Mangino. Illinois thought they would be better off with Tim Beckman. Change for the sake of change is very dangerous.