“5-7 is not going to get the man fired, but it’s going to put a lot of spotlight on him going into next year.”
Soren Petro, on the status of Gary Pinkel at Mizzou as he and his Tigers are off to a rough start as new members of the SEC, 810 AM
GH: Should Gary Pinkel be concerned about his job as Missouri’s head football coach? Is that crazy talk or the reality of the pressures that follow him and the Tigers into big-time, and even bigger-money SEC football? Read on.
“Is Gary Pinkel the guy to take Missouri to the next place – and is Missouri capable of going to the next place?”
Blair Kerkhoff, 810 AM
GH: Let’s attack Kerkhoff’s two questions backward. Is Missouri capable of competing for SEC championships? Skeptics will say – and rightly so – that Mizzou never won a Big 12 title and should not expect to win an SEC title anytime soon. Hard to argue with that logic. But Missouri has an edge over many SEC schools in terms of state population and the lack of another in-state DI football program. The recipe for success is there. Many believe MU simply needs their version of Bill Snyder or Les Miles or Nick Saban to turn corn and cattle into gold.
“You and I were talking off the air. This man is going through some personal issues right now.”
Jack Harry, to Kevin Kietzman, discussing Gary Pinkel, 810 AM
GH: Pinkel has had a rough 10 months. He was arrested for DUI in November and then announced his divorce from his wife of almost 40 years in April. Now his football team is staring at a season-defining game this Saturday at Central Florida.
“I am saddened to say that my wife and I separated at the beginning of this year. Thank you to family and friends who have shown us support. I would ask that you please respect the privacy of the entire Pinkel family during this difficult time.”
Gary Pinkel, in a statement he released last April
GH: The 60-year-old Pinkel met his wife when both were students at Kent State and married her before his senior year in 1973. Not a lot of 40-year-old marriages go bad – or bad enough to end in divorce. Did Pinkel’s DUI in November have anything to do with his divorce? Has his divorce had anything to do with his ability to be a successful football coach? Tough questions – but when you coach in the SEC and get paid the big bucks, your personal life better not affect your football life. Just ask Arkansas’ Bobby Petrino.
“I’ve been doing this a long time…”
Gary Pinkel, responding to a number of different questions posed by a number of different interviewers over the past two weeks
GH: Pinkel has fallen into using this phrase almost as often as he says something is “remarkable.” I have never heard Pinkel be more defensive than he has this season. He’s edgier and sounds less confident. The SEC ain’t for everybody.
“I don’t want to make any predictions [about Missouri football]. I think time will tell. They’ve got a tough game this week, I saw in the paper. Are they underdogs going down to Central Florida, somebody told me? UCF’s a good team down there. I think we all have to play the season out. Some teams get better as the season goes along. Some get worse. We just got to wait it all out and see what happens.”
Steve Spurrier, when asked about Missouri’s future in the SEC, Columbia Tribune
GH: No coach is more confident or ready to say what’s on his mind than Spurrier. He is beating around the goal post here with Missouri but it is obvious he isn’t ready to call MU a primetime SEC player.
“From a scheduling standpoint, we’d never schedule Arizona State in between [Georgia and South Carolina], that would never happen. We recognize, you know, that in this league you’re going to play SEC games right off the bat in September, but scheduling non-conference games right – as we’ll be able to do in the future – at least gives you a better opportunity to do things the right way. I call it intelligent scheduling.”
Gary Pinkel, Kansas City Star
GH: I hate this kind of public declaration from a head coach that his program wants nothing to do with a quality non-con schedule. It is not like Arizona State is Ohio State, Southern Cal or Oklahoma. The Sun Devils are a middle-of-the-barrel PAC 12 team that Mizzou should be looking to scalp yearly – not trying to avoid in favor of Minnesota State.
“Jeff Sagarin’s computer rankings have Missouri’s strength of schedule No. 1 in the country through four weeks of the season.”
Dave Matter, Columbia Tribune
GH: Here is the good news for Mizzou fans – the Tigers have played some damn good opponents in 2012. Their two losses are to teams that many believe will be ranked in the top ten for much of the season. The Tigers have time to get some statement wins – at Tennessee, at Florida and then clean house on Vandy, Kentucky, Syracuse and A&M. 9-3 would be good enough to add five more years to Pinkel’s contract that expires in 2017…or quite a bit sooner if things continue to go south in the life and times of this rookie SEC coach.
GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / greghall24