Hochman: It wasn't a dream – former Clemson QB Kelly Bryant chose Mizzou – STLtoday.com



Everything about it seemed like it would happen, so course it wouldn’t happen.

A mindset that’s been #MizzouMade.

But Kelly Bryant chose Mizzou. The Clemson quarterback transfer didn’t choose Auburn or Mississippi State. Heck, Mizzou is such a snakebit school, one even wondered if Bryant would announce: “I’ve decided to take my talents to Missouri … State University! Go Bears!”

But Kelly Bryant is a Missouri Tiger, and maybe just maybe, Barry Odom knows what he’s doing over there in Columbia.

And yes, looking back objectively, everything about it seemed, indeed, like it would happen. Drew Lock, the future Denver Bronco or Jacksonville Jaguar or something of the kind, had an exemplary 2018 season in Mizzou’s offense. Offensive coordinator Derek Dooley proved that he could pull off the gig, and brought his NFL pedigree to mid-Missouri. And Mizzou has a ready-made offense for 2019 – every other spot is stacked … but QB was a big question mark.

Now it’s a big exclamation point.

Still, for a fan base that lacks the self-confidence seen in the SEC, it was a believe-it-when-I-see-it mentality with Kelly Bryant. Now the question is – will returning quarterback Micah Wilson give up his No. 2 for Bryant?

With one season of eligibility, the quarterback Bryant (16-2 as a Clemson starter) gives Mizzou so much hope for 2019, Odom’s fourth as coach. With eight wins this season (nine if Mizzou wins the Liberty Bowl against 6-6 Oklahoma State), it’s fair to at least wonder if Mizzou can crack double-digits next season (Alabama is off the schedule, Ole Miss is on).

And over its past 19 games, Mizzou football is 14-5. Only six Power 5 programs have a better record in that span:

Odom’s ability to lock down Lock’s replacement confirms that he is the right guy for the Mizzou job, confirms the optimism heading into the Liberty Bowl, confirms Odom’s worth of a contract extension. Again, Bryant was considering other SEC schools, including the ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs and the big-name Auburn Tigers, but Bryant chose Mizzou.

OK, one more moment of brakes-pumping – remember, they got Clemson’s Kelly Bryant, not Clemson’s Deshaun Watson. This is a great quarterback, but not a transcendent quarterback. He wasn’t even first-team all-conference. But his quarterback efficiency rating is stellar and he has so many wins in his gym bag.

No offense to Micah Wilson, who could develop into a starter someday, but if he was the starter for 2019, there would’ve been a lot of doubt heading into 2019. Then again, Mizzou fans are so good at doubting.

Today’s a day not to doubt, but to believe.

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