What was your reaction after Missouri’s stunning homecoming loss to South Carolina on Saturday?
Did you hang your head in anguish? Did you scream your frustrations at the top of your lungs like me? Did you let your stream of consciousness about Mizzou sports that had been building over the decades of let downs come out of you in a whirlwind of uncontrollable gibberish?
Who did you blame for the loss? Where did you point your finger?
Were you one of those who wrongfully blamed kicker Andrew Baggett? Were you one of those who embarrassed yourself, who tweeted:
“@ABaggett99 you go to school for free for something you are horrible at. Ps I hate you”
“You can't kick. Way to let everyone down. Wouldn't wanna be you on campus this week. @ABaggett99”
“I hate you @ABaggett99. You single handily (sic) ruined our season”
Do you have an ounce of dignity in you? Or do you always act so cowardly when something doesn’t go your way?
Are you surprised when I say that I have many more questions about Saturday’s game?
Ever heard of the phrase “laces out?” Are you unaware of how badly it affects the distance, accuracy and trajectory of a football when it’s kicked with the laces turned in? Do I need to call John Brenkus on you and ask him to a do a “Sports Science” segment? Can we all agree that the missed kick wasn’t Baggett’s fault?
So if it wasn’t Baggett’s fault that he missed the kick, then we can blame the holder right? The holder lost us the game?
Does a missed kick to tie a game in overtime necessarily have to be a reason that the team lost? Did things happening in regulation, where the team had multiple opportunities to clinch a victory and wasted them away over and over again, not count at all? Did they even play the first four quarters of the game?
Did Andrew Baggett blow a 17-0 lead? Was he responsible for the onslaught of wimpy attempted tackles that turned minimal gains into large ones? Was he assigned to cover Gamecocks receiver Bruce Ellington when he was wide open in the end zone on fourth and goal in overtime? Was he the one who made the Tigers defense, so good all season long, suddenly become as undisciplined as Vince Young and Chad Ochocinco on a spring break?
Or was this, in fact, a team effort?
Did coach Gary Pinkel revert back to his old self and become one of college football’s all time great game mismanagers?
Should we blame history — because that was “typical Mizzou,” right? Should we blame the coin that was tossed before overtime that went in South Carolina’s favor?
And yet, better questions:
Do we really have to try and find someone to blame? Is all of this “who did what wrong” even worth it? Couldn’t we just accept it that this is how sports work? Accept that you can’t win ‘em all?
Should credit go to Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier? Who bluffed us all with that “Connor Shaw can’t play” business?
In the end though, can we not be happy that Missouri is where it is now? If someone went back in time and told you at the start of the year that we’d be 7-1 eight games into the season, wouldn’t you have gone to the floor and kissed their feet?
Are the Tigers still going to win the Southeastern Conference East division? Is optimism a dirty word? Was this loss to South Carolina hard to swallow? Was it not the most heartbreaking way to have homecoming spoiled? Do I have the answers to all these questions?
Am I wrong for asking?