It’s really difficult for me to feel sorry for Missouri because they couldn’t prevent themselves from getting hammered by Tennessee on Saturday. Style points, sportsmanship and much more come into play if you want to criticize the Vols for tacking on an extra touchdown – or eight.
Here is a really simple fact: It’s Missouri’s job to stop Tennessee from scoring more points than the Tigers. It’s Tennessee’s job to score as many points as it takes to better its program, which is exactly what it did on Saturday in a 66-24 thumping of the Tigers.
It should be noted that the Vols got to see some backups in game action. That shouldn’t be overlooked. I know that some critics will respond by saying that Tennessee’s backup players have already seen plenty of game-action – and they have. However, this is a team that has to find a new quarterback and rebuild an offensive line before they take the field in 2023. However, that argument is stale. Let’s update it.
The Vols are not a lock to make it into the College Football Playoff even if they win out and finish 11-1. There seems to be a contention that Tennessee controls its own destiny. It doesn’t. After losing to Georgia, the Vols need help. Perhaps scoring more points will do that, although some think the committee might actually look down upon the Vols for “running up the score.” If that’s the case, then someone needs to clarify some things because the Vols aren’t the only ones that see the need to pile on points. Southern California did so on Friday night against Colorado in a similar scenario.
Lastly, and I saved the best for last, does anyone recall Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz mocking Tennessee for NCAA violations that had just been reported and occurred under former UT coach Jeremy Pruitt? Well, here it is:
Drinkwitz thought it was quite entertaining to take a shot at the Vols just as SEC Media Days were in full swing and summer recruiting was concluding. Drinkwitz wasn’t even subtle about it. He wasn’t even asked about it. He just shoved it into a national interview as he was being introduced, kind of like how the Vols shoved the ball into the end zone on that final drive. I’m not taking sides here, but if you can’t take the repercussions, then just don’t say anything, especially if you’re not funny.
The way Drinkwitz seemed so intent on sticking it to the Vols made a potentially funny line into a pathetic attempt at humor with a glaring agenda. It was befuddling and much more unusual than the Vols tacking on a late touchdown.
The bottom line is Tennessee coach Josh Heupel is who he is. He’s going to try and score as many points as he can. Perhaps Heupel would have taken his foot off of the gas had the Vols beaten Georgia last week and been firmly planted as the No. 1 team in the nation. I doubt it.
If I’m Missouri, I’m seriously doubting my recent decision to give Drinkwitz a contract extension. In fact, I’m looking over the fine print to see if I can get out of the agreement. Drinkwitz isn’t cut out for the SEC. Missouri might not be either if it thinks he deserved a new contract last week when the Tigers were riding high at 4-5. The final score of the Tennessee game shouldn’t be nearly as demoralizing as Drinkwitz’ coaching record, which is 15-18 at Missouri.
Don’t worry about Drinkwitz. There are brighter days ahead. The Tigers play New Mexico State on Saturday. I’m sure they can hold the Aggies to under 60 points.