It’s a bit off the beaten path, but there were several winners during Mizzou’s bye week.
1. Eli Drinkwitz
You could bring up charges that I mainly only wrote this bye week MV3 to pontificate on Drinkwitz’s bye week win. If you did, I’d sue you in a court of law for libel… but you’d still probably win. The evidence, I’m afraid, will be too slanted to my detriment.
Before he stopped by Georgia to watch his future QB and grab some delicious cobbler, Drinkwitz pulled off one of the biggest recruiting wins in Mizzou Football history by landing Luther Burden, who I’m sure you’ve heard about at least in passing at this point. Not only did he earn Burden’s commitment, though; he earned it, and then fended off a full-court press from Georgia, who welcomed College Gameday and Kentucky for a packed SEC showdown. If you can face down those cannons and still pull off the win, you’re probably pretty slick.
It would be one thing if Burden was simply a good recruit who allowed Missouri fans to look toward the future for a week and not think about the dismal end of 2021 that lies ahead. But Burden’s commitment represents everything Drink is building — that even one down year won’t break up the band of a top 15 class headed to Columbia — and gives fans a reason to think that everything he’s been stressing isn’t just smoke. Drinkwitz recognizes the talent gap at Missouri and is actively working to do something about it. Landing Luther Burden, a talent that could’ve named his school the day he was eligible to receive offers, justifies Drink’s efforts as a recruiter and a program-builder, making the bye week about more than just forgetting the woes of the 2021 Tigers.
2. Bush Hamdan
Didn’t think you’d see a Hamdan reference in one of these, did you?
Mizzou’s wide receivers/quarterbacks coach is arguably a tad overqualified for his current position, but he’s putting in some good reps as (what appears to be) Drink’s second in command on the sideline and the recruiting trail. He’s listed as one of the two primary recruiters on Burden’s Rivals page, a pull that could have some serious implications the next time power five coordinator jobs are open. After all, Hamdan was at least in consideration when the Kentucky job opened last year.
With a few more recruiting coups like this, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Hamdan parlay his success into a cushier job where he’s allowed to call plays.
3. Sam Horn
Technically, this spot could be reserved for whoever is quarterbacking the Tigers in 2022 (and the following few years). So you could swap out Tyler Macon or Connor Bazelak and still make a somewhat credible case for this spot being theirs as well.
However, Horn has the strongest case simply because he seemed to play an important role in Burden’s recruitment. It’s no secret that Mizzou sought to get the two on campus at the same time, and Horn seemed to suggest that he visited when he did in an effort to connect with Luther.
It’s never a sure thing that a starting QB will be unseated, especially one with a resume like Connor Bazelak’s. But it’s becoming evident that there’s going to be an open competition for the QB spot come next spring/fall, and Horn may have a leg up simply because he seems to have the hot hand… especially on the ‘crootin trail.
How about you? Any other people you think won the bye week? Maybe you should get a first line vote here? Tell us why in the comments.