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Drink or Swim: Is Eli Drinkwitz on the Hot Seat?

The Missouri football program is coming off yet another average season, going 3-5 in the SEC and 6-7 overall with a loss to Wake Forest 17-27 in the Gasparilla Bowl. This is another season with a .500 record, a record head coach Eli Drinkwitz has only been able to muster up since joining the program in 2019. Drinkwitz is 17-19 with the Missouri Tigers, a stat a lot of Mizzou faithful were hoping would improve after watching his success at Appalachian State as Barry Odom had much of the same performances. The problem is not that this Missouri team is in the toilet year after year, it's the fact that under Gary Pinkel, Missouri was regularly competing for SEC and Big 12 championships. Since Pinkel's departure in 2015, the best record either Barry Odom or Eli Drinkwitz has been able to muster up is 8-5 in 2018 which included a loss in the Liberty Bowl and a #23 finish in the final rankings. You can imagine how fed-up Tiger fans are in regard to this, as it's been almost 10 years now of not good, not bad, but chronically mediocre football. Even after adding one of the best wide receivers in the country in Luther Burden, even after gaining back a significant foothold on in-state recruiting, even after stellar performances against some of the best teams in the country such as Georgia and Tennessee, still just same old, mediocre Mizzou.

This repeated run-of-the-mill performance has many questioning how much longer Missouri's athletic director and Missouri's donors will put up with Eli Drinkwitz. On one hand, Drinkwitz did just sign a 2-year, $7 million contract extension, however that jump in pay does not plug in until after the 2024 season when his original contract is up. On the other hand, considering this lull period in between the extension and his original deal, there's plenty of room for error on Drinkwitz's part, and plenty of room for the Missouri Athletics administration to change their mind. He's bringing on ample talent for the Tigers, the #3 ranked recruit in the nation Williams Nwaneri committed to the Tigers last week. Their highest ranked recruit since Dorial Green-Beckham in 2012, and he may not stop there as there are still plenty of high-caliber players considering Missouri. He also brought on the aforementioned Burden but has also lost talent to better schools like Dominic Lovett to Georgia. If this team cannot excel with this talent and continue to be chronically average, all signs point toward Drinkwitz and his staff being at fault for the mediocrity. Not only that but showing no signs of improvement is bad for recruiting, player retention, and for program revenue. If things continue to stay stagnant, how long does Missouri Athletics put up with it? Even worse so, Missouri is a boom or bust squad entering the 2023 season, with a ceiling as high as 9-3 and a floor as low as a pitiful 3-9. If Drinkwitz underperforms and this school STILL keeps him, what does that say about Missouri Athletics as a whole? Big questions to be asked regarding Drinkwitz's job security that still haven't been answered, the seat is probably hotter than the Missouri Athletics administration is making it out to be...

Burn Notice: 8/10 something's burning, could it be Drinkwitz's seat?

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