Missouri football rode a six-game winning streak to finish 7-6. Can Barry Odom and the Tigers keep that momentum going in 2018?
The Missouri football program has changed conferences and success rates over their 120-plus years of playing the game. The Tigers found their greatest success under legendary coach Dan Devine. He may be better known for his time at Notre Dame and his 1977 national championship with Joe Montana at quarterback. However, Devine made a name for himself in Columbia, MO.
Devine’s Tigers finished 11-0 in 1960, good for No. 4 in the coaches’ poll and No. 5 in the AP poll. As members of the Big Eight, Missouri finished 61-24-4 under Devine in conference and 92–38–7 overall. Devine finished 1970 with his first losing record with the Tigers and left for the Green Bay Packers of the NFL.
Missouri football endured a fall from grace under new coach Al Onofrio, saw a resurgence to good-but-not-great under Warren Powers, and fell to the cellar under Woody Widenhofer and Bob Stull. Larry Smith‘s tenure started and ended rocky but did have two good seasons in the middle. The Tigers were now in the Big 12, in the championship game era of the conference, and hired Gary Pinkel to take over in 2001.
Coach Pinkel started off rough in Columbia himself winning only nine game in years one and two combined. Then the Tigers took off and Pinkel only endured three losing seasons from 2005-2015 in a place that was lucky to have three winning seasons per decade before him. Pinkel established a great defense led by defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski (now at Alabama) and dominant pass rushers like Michael Sam.
The Tigers logged double-digit win seasons in 2007, 2008, and 2010 as members of the Big 12, and in 2013 and 2014 after a move to the SEC East. After a rocky 2015 season Coach Pinkel retired from illness as he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma and chose to walk away from the game.
Former Missouri linebacker and longtime assistant Barry Odom took over the program in 2016 and has posted an 11-14 record in two years as the head coach. Odom will have to replace offensive coordinator Josh Heupel, who is now the head coach at UCF. The Tigers finished 2017 ranked 35th in the S&P+.