Thanks to the NCAA -- the Notoriously Corrupt Athletics Association -- the college football bowl chase continues this weekend without Mizzou. The Tigers hoped to play Arkansas Friday afternoon with a backwater bowl bid on the line, but that wasn't to be.
This is not a small matter. Missouri coach Barry Odom would have loved the chance to advance to even the worst of the bowls. When a program resides in the bottom half of the brutally competitive SEC, you take what you can get in a given year.
Just ask beleaguered Mississippi State coach Joe Moorhead, whose 21-20 victory over arch-rival Ole Miss on Thanksgiving got his team bowl eligible at 6-6. Whew!
Afterward, he made his pitch to remain employed in Starkville.
"To me it was an exclamation point on the narrative that I'm not the right man for this job or this team, or that I can't coach in this league," Moorhead said. "This is my school, my team, and this is my program. They'll have to drag my Yankee (backside) out of here."
Yeah, boosters might have done just that had he lost to Ole Miss. But now he is headed for his second bowl in two years. Last season he took the Bulldogs to the Outback Bowl last season with talent inherited from Dan Mullen.
This triumph over the Rebels wasn't the greatest victory in the world. Ole Miss should have forced overtime, but an unsportsmanlike conductive penalty following its last-second touchdown led to a 35-yard extra-point try that Luke Logan missed.
It seems Ole Miss receiver Elijah Moore pulled the old dog whizzing celebration in the end zone catching a TD pass with four seconds left in regulation time in the Egg Bowl game. Oh, well.
As for the NCAA and Missouri . . .
Not only did it reject the school's appeal, it allowed the uncertainty to hang over the program into the final week of the regular season before announcing its decision. That delay just added to the excessive punishment.
Meanwhile big revenue programs in college football and basketball continue buying talent with little fear of repercussions. Even when programs are caught red-handed -- as with the federal investigation into rampant bribery in college hoops -- a few assistant coaches get fired and the commerce continues unrestrained.
(This isn't just partisan whining. Back in the day Missouri basketball pulled all sorts of stunts on the recruiting trail and got off with wrist slaps. Back then Mizzou was very good for the business of college basketball, so recruiter Rich Daly ran amok while poor Bob Sundvold was sacrificed as a fall guy. And don't get Tipsheet started on Quin Snyder and Tony Harvey.)
Any serious attempt to clean up college sports would hurt the industry. The Notoriously Corrupt Athletics Association would never, ever, ever, ever, ever do that.
Instead, the NCAA steps on a middle-rung program here and there and then calls it day.
THE GRIDIRON CHRONICLES
Here's what folks are writing about college football:
Pete Fiutak, College Football News: "This is now the Tigers’ bowl game. There was hope for the NCAA to reverse its ridiculous decision to punish Missouri for self-reported and fixed transgressions, but no … the bowl ban this season holds. Little Rock will have to serve as the place to have some fun playing a little more football. Arkansas shouldn’t be anything more than a light scrimmage with an offense that can’t move the ball, a defense that can’t stop anyone on third downs, and hurt mostly be a painfully inefficient and ineffective passing game that can’t keep the pace with anyone. Mizzou might be having a whole ton of problems on its own, but the defense is playing well. The secondary will clamp down, it won’t allow any long marches, and the run D is holding everyone to around 130 yards per game."
Dennis Dodd, CBSSports.com: "This isn't the Alabama of 2011 or 2017. In other words, it's not a squad so powerful that it got into the championship chase (winning it all both times) even though it finished second in the SEC West. Cutting to the chase: The Crimson Tide seemingly have to blow out the Tigers to even be in the playoff conversation. That's what has to happen first if chalk holds (Ohio State, LSU and Clemson winning their respective conference title games next week). Meanwhile, the Tide goes against the nation's best defensive line with a backup quarterback (Mac Jones) on the road. A win would be Alabama's first against a currently ranked team this season. Given all that, what are the odds of Alabama laying a 40-7 licking on Auburn? The view from here -- not good."
George Schroeder, USA Today: "We can forecast a one-loss Big 12 champion passing the Pac-12 champion only because of Oregon’s astonishingly bad performance against the Sun Devils. Upsets happen. We’ve still got two weeks for contenders to be revealed as pretenders. But if the Big 12 emerges with a one-loss champion, it’s suddenly in prime position to pass Utah. And this is also a pretty important piece: A one-loss champion from either league would almost certainly vault No. 5 Alabama in the final rankings. All of this presumes Ohio State, LSU and Clemson win out – which would mean LSU knocking No. 4 Georgia out of the picture. If Georgia wins (or Ohio State or Clemson lose), things get pretty chaotic. Assuming the top three win, though, the Crimson Tide’s talking point is, 'What if Alabama blows out Auburn with Mac Jones at quarterback?' The answer – other than that a blowout seems fairly unlikely, considering Auburn’s defense – is that ‘Bama would still be 11-1, without a conference championship and with only one Top 25 win (Auburn)."
Bill Connelly, ESPN.com: "Nebraska took out a month's worth of frustration on Maryland on Saturday, and the 54-7 win moved the Huskers to within a game of .500. To reach the postseason in this disappointing year, though, they'll have to beat an Iowa team that has defeated them four times in a row. Scott Frost is only 4-5 at home against Power 5 teams since taking over at his alma mater. This would be a great time for a real home-field advantage to materialize."
“I know this game means everything to us . . . Nothing matters if we don’t win The Game, That’s the only way I look at it. We’ve got to win The Game.”
Ohio State coach Ryan Day, on the rivalry game with Michigan.