7-5 overall, 4-4 conference, 4th Big 12 North
Against the spread
6-6 (4-3 home, 2-3 away, 4-4 grass)
9-3 (5-2 home, 4-1 away, 6-2 grass)
-.08 per game
2005 Season Summary
Head coach Gary Pinkel seemed to have the Missouri Tigers on the ascent with their spectacular do everything quarterback Brad Smith. Mizzou was a highly competitive 5-7 straight up in 2002 as Smith quickly emerged as a Heisman Trophy candidate as a freshman. In 2003 Smith ran opposing defenses wild and led the Tigers to an 8-5 straight up and 8-4 against the spread season that ended with a bowl loss to Arkansas. Mizzou had improved its record in each of Pinkel’s three seasons and as they headed into Smith’s junior year in 2004, they were the trendy pick to win the weak Big 12 North Division.
Mizzou started off 4-1 straight up and 2-2-1 against the spread in 2004 but suffered an embarrassing, if not epic, loss at Troy State on ESPN Thursday Night Football in week 2 that exposed them as literally not ready for prime time. A five-game straight up losing streak soon followed and MU finished 5-6 straight up and 4-6-1 against the spread. By season’s end, Pinkel came under intense fire for his trying to reign in Smith in the attempt to make him more of a pure pocket passer rather than allowing him to improvise and use his athleticism as he had done so effectively in the previous two years.
Determined to return to a bowl
The 2005 collapse motivated Pinkel to alter his offense for the 2005 season as the Tigers adopted Utah’s spread offense that Urban Meyer had so successfully developed. It was hoped that the new offense would allow Smith more freedom to improvise and better utilize his athletic ability. At the same time Pinkel had to tighten up a defense depleted by graduation. Mizzou was determined to return to a bowl in Smith’s senior season and perhaps even take that North Division title a year after being expected to do so.
Mizzou opened the 2005 season in nearby Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium against Arkansas State, who decided to play their “home” game at the home of the NFL’s Chiefs. Mizzou scored a promising 44-17 win as 25-point chalks.
In the home opener at Farout Field, Mizzou was a 9.5-point chalk against New Mexico and suffered a most discouraging 35-45 loss as the Lobos’ offense had their way against the leaky Tiger defense. In their next game, however, Mizzou extracted revenge against Troy with a 52-21 win as 19.5-point chalks. Facing powerhouse Texas at Farout the following week, however, as 15.5-point dogs, MU was soundly defeated 20-51 to fall to 2-2 straight up and against the spread as they were sending mixed messages to gamblers.
In their next game at rebuilding Oklahoma State as a 5.5-point chalk, Mizzou scored a 38-31 revenge win as they escaped with a late stop of an OSU drive. The following week at home against Iowa State, Mizzou was given up for dead trailing by 10 points late in the fourth quarter before rallying for an incredible 27-24 win as 6.5-point chalks. In their next game at home versus Nebraska, the Tigers scored a 41-24 win as 2.5-point dogs for their third consecutive straight up win as they were building momentum for a potential North title.
Still not ready for prime time
MU was a 3-point revenge chalk at hated Kansas in their next game but was completely outplayed in a 3-13 loss. The following week at Colorado, with their North Division destiny still in their own hands, the Tigers fell meekly 12-41 as 13-point dogs as they were exposed as still not ready for prime time.
Ending on a high
MU needed one win in their final two games for a bowl berth and got it with a nice 31-16 Senior Day victory over Baylor as 9.5-point chalks. They next lost at K-State 28-36 as 3-point dogs in KSU coach Bill Snyder’s farewell game. Against Steve Spurrier and South Carolina in the Independence Bowl, MU was a 4-point dog and rallied from a 28-7 deficit to take a 38-31 thriller as the much-maligned Pinkel scored temporary vindication against the “Old Ball Coach” while Smith closed out his MU career in style.