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West Virginia Mountaineers vs Missouri Tigers

Missouri coach Barry Odom makes a point during a break in last week's game game West Virginia. Photo by David Carson, dcarson@post-dispatch.com

Five topics from columnist Ben Frederickson that St. Louis sports fans should be discussing:

1. Odom numbers that are becoming hard to ignore and explain

As Mizzou athletics director Jim Sterk wrestles with the future of Tigers football coach Barry Odom, these numbers have to be heavy on his mind ... 

.455: Saturday’s loss to Tennessee inched Odom’s overall winning percentage down below .500. He’s 24-25 overall. No matter what happens the rest of this season, this will be the first season of his four in which he’s not won more games than the previous season.

One: Under Odom, the Tigers have one win in 10 meetings against Top 25 teams. There’s last season’s upset of Florida in The Swamp, and that’s it. Including that 38-17 signature win, Mizzou has been outscored 336-180 against Top 25 opponents with Odom as head coach.

Five: Let’s call this three-four-five. Three times in four Odom-coached seasons, the Tigers have lost five games in a row. The only exception was last season, a team that lost three in a row and four out of five in the middle of its season.

Seven: Odom’s Tigers have seven more losses (19) than wins (12) against SEC opponents since he took over for former coach Gary Pinkel. That includes the current five-game conference losing streak. This is not a rate that is changing much, either. Mizzou is 6-9 in its most recent 15 conference games.

Twelve: Odom’s Tiger teams have lost 12 games to teams they were favored by Las Vegas to beat. Their record against underdogs is 22-12 after Saturday’s loss to Tennessee, another team they were favored to beat.

Nineteen: Under Odom, Mizzou has 19 more losses than wins against teams that finished their season with or currently have winning records this season. The record reads 3-22, and that includes Saturday’s loss to Tennessee, which improved to 6-5 and became bowl eligible for the first time since 2016.

2. Bortuzzo busted

If there was any doubt about Robert Bortuzzo of the Blues deserving the four-game suspension he was handed for his Saturday night cross-checking of Nashville forward Victor Arvidsson, this series of tweets from hockey writer Adam Gretz should clear things up.

Bortuzzo better clean up his unnecessary stick work when he returns. He’s climbing on the list of players the league likes to punish to create examples.

3. Simmons on his Hall of Fame chances

If only everyone had the same outlook on life as former Cardinals catcher Ted Simmons has on his chances of making the Hall of Fame. Simba missed making Cooperstown by one vote of the veteran’s committee last year. He’s up for consideration again this year. Here’s what he told Dan McLaughlin in a podcast on ScoopsWithDannyMac.com.

"The Hall of Fame would be a wonderful thing to culminate my life in baseball with," Simmons said. "There is no getting around it. I would be really, really pleased if that happened. But, as I said, I've seen so much, and gained so much from this industry, if in fact I didn't end up in Cooperstown, if that didn't happen to me, if I went about the rest of my life lamenting or grieving the idea it didn't happen for me, I'd be ashamed, because so much good has happened to me."

4. First one to 55 wins?

Fans of defense will enjoy tonight’s Hall of Fame Classic game between Cuonzo Martin’s Tigers and Butler at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. The Tigers and Bulldogs both hold spots inside the nation’s top 12 when it comes to points allowed per game. The Bulldogs (5-0) are holding opponents to an average of 53.4 points, good for eighth in the nation. The Tigers (4-1) are giving up an average of 53.8 points, which ranks 12th. As former Mizzou coach Norm Stewart said at Memorial Stadium this weekend: “Cuonzo’s got them guarding.”

Butler has not allowed more than 61 points in any game. Mizzou has not allowed more than 63.

5. Another reason to root for the relocation lawsuit

If you somehow missed it late last week, do yourself a favor and make time for the incredible ESPN article that dives into the drama that is the NFL’s return to Los Angeles. Seth Wickersham and Don Van Natta Jr., provided some interesting tidbits on the league’s legal battle with St. Louis over its relocation rip-job. One of the new facts reported upon was something that had been wondered about but not officially confirmed — the answer to who is covering the legal fees for the teams and the league.

It’s Rams owner Stan Kroenke, according to the article.

Kroenke reportedly signed an indemnification agreement on the morning of the league vote that confirmed the Rams’ relocation to Los Angeles. That agreement has Kroenke on the hook for all fees related to the relocation lawsuit, with ESPN reporting some of the legal bills have reached eight figures for some teams. Those costs are sure to rise, as the NFL just whiffed on another attempt to block St. Louis lawyers from getting nearly a decade’s worth of cellphone records from NFL owners and other top league officials.

Winning legal battles and not spending his money on things that don’t make him more money are near the top of Kroenke’s favorite things to do. This situation has to be driving him nuts. Just another reason to become a fan of the relocation lawsuit.


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