The contract extension for football coach Eli Drinkwitz fits nicely into the familiar category of “Mizzou is gonna Mizzou.” And I’m not even opposed to the idea of giving Drinkwitz more time, and to give the program more stability, because I don’t want members of the Missouri administration zooming around the nation in a private jet every three years in a desperate search for a new ball coach.

I just wish the MU hierarchy would stop with the overstated praise and the recycling of the same word. In this case, the word is “trajectory.” As in Coach has the program on a positive trajectory. That was the buzzword of the day in announcing the contract extension.

The trajectory over Coach Drink’s last two seasons looks like this:

– 2-8 record on road or neutral sites.
– 0-5 vs. ranked teams.
– 8-12 vs. FBS opponents
– 3-10 vs. winning FBS opponents
– 5-11 vs. Power 5 opponents

But here’s is where I call a timeout to make adjustments on what I’m writing here. I’m not here to be the lead prosecutor. I’m trying to be fair.

While the button line isn’t pretty so far this season – 4-5 record overall, and 2-4 in the SEC – Drinkwitz has made some improvements.

* In recruiting, for the most part. Last year’s recruiting haul was outstanding. But Missouri is lagging as the early-signing deadline approaches for the next cycle. Overall, still a plus.

* Last season Mizzou was ranked 69th overall in the highly respected S&P+ ratings posted at This season, through nine games, the Tigers are 47th overall. If you are pleased with the contract extension, which runs through 2027, there’s a piece of your “trajectory” argument.

* Drinkwitz screwed up before the 2021 season by hiring the overwhelmed Steve Wilks as defensive coordinator. Under Wilks, Missouri was ranked 97th nationally in the S&P+ breakdown. But Drinkwitz pivoted and made a helluva hire to replace Wilks, who headed back to the NFL. After Blake Baker was named by Drink to take over the coordination of the MU defense, the Tigers have become outstanding on that side of the ball. The defense is ranked 19th in the nation according to the S&P+ metrics, and I’ve seen the Tigers rated as high as 12th in other metric analysis. I think we can all agree that Missouri is playing physical, inspired and impressive defense in 2022, and I give Drinkwitz credit for getting the hire right … very right … in the second time around.

But the offense isn’t helping Drinkwitz build more support. After being listed at 52 nationally by S&P+ last season, the Tigers have dropped to No. 84 so far in 2022. I don’t want to keep piling on the quarterback (Brady Cook). He didn’t name himself the starting QB, and he’s not in charge of benching his own self to go with another quarterback. And Cook doesn’t put together the playbook or call the plays, either.

The trajectory would look just great if Missouri could (A) score more points, and I’m not talking about a load of points; and (B) finish strong in games that are absolutely winnable.

Missouri has lost four SEC games this season by one score, the largest being a seven-point gap at Florida. The others: a three-point loss at Auburn, and four-point loss at home to Georgia, and a four-point home loss to Kentucky. I truly believe this: if Drinkwitz had assembled a more capable offense, and piloted it with even a slightly above-average quarterback, it would have led to at least five things: (1) More wins; (2) an expanded offense and more creativity on play calls; (3) considerable praise for Drinkwitz; (4) a trajectory that’s actually on the move and going in the right direction; (5) and applause for the administration for making sure that rising-star Drinkwitz would remain in place.

Alas, those four close losses, while winnable, were still losses and they keep score in college football. Nobody cares how you win, or how close you come to winning … you have to close the deal and win the games. And yes, Missouri got the raw end of another bizarre, hopelessly incoherent day of officiating in Saturday’s 21-17 bummer of a loss to Kentucky.

Sorry … you gotta find a way to get through it, and get done. All teams get screwed by goofy officiating.

That’s just the way it is.

As it turned out, Missouri didn’t maximize another good performance by its stellar defense. The “D” wasn’t invincible, but I don’t care about that. When your defense holds an offense led by QB Will Levis and RB Chris Rodriguez to 21 points, bagged six sacks and 11 tackles for losses, and allowed only 242 total yards and 4.1 yards per play – this has to end in a win for the home team.

Missouri’s offense put together two second-half touchdown drives, which was a nice diversion from the norm. But when the Mizzou offense inflates hope, Mizzou’s offense will almost certainly deflate those hopes. Not always – it was different in the 23-10 win at South Carolina – but the Tiger offense can’t sustain any real success or entertainment value.

Missouri’s offense was flat-lining for the first 2 and ½ quarters, found a pulse, put some points on the board, and then crashed again. Mizzou’s offense can’t provide consistent support of its own defense, can’t overcome costly mistakes, and can’t shake off unjust calls by the officials. The Cook-led offense won’t prevail unless all conditions are favorable, and they don’t mess up. The margin for error is miniscule. And that’s no way to exist, especially in the SEC.

Saturday at home, Mizzou staggered to 232 yards, converted only two of 13 third-down plays, and lost to turnovers … one a dreadful fumble by Cook, who wasn’t even hit on the play.

You know this already. You’ve talked about this already. You don’t need to hear it from me. But this warrants repeating, because four crucial games were lost because of the Missouri offense eating itself in various acts of self-destruction.

The Trajectory lacks a big element: consistent trajectory in many throws made by the inconsistent quarterback, and the overall limited trajectory by the offense … as in being capable of traveling into the end zone by a score.

I’m good with Drinkwitz staying. Stability can only help. And if he flops, he’s gone. They’ll pay off the remainder of the deal and start over again.

Now that Coach Drink has gotten a generous contract extension from his superiors — a questionable or even wrongheaded decision to many on the outside — he must turn the expensive vote of confidence into a smart decision. He has the contract. Now it’s up to him to have a winning quarterback to lead a winning offense. And that is all up to him. Otherwise, the trajectory will continue to go around in circles … destination nowhere.

Thanks for reading …