2000: 19 years ago, tied for 5th in the Big 12
Record: 3-8, 2-6 in Big 12
Missouri entered the 2000 season, Larry Smith’s seventh in Columbia, at a crossroads. After all those losing seasons, the program had won 7 games in 1997 and 8 games in 1998, only to fall way down in the standings in 1999. Sadly, the 2000 season brought more of that losing, and Smith was fired after the season.
Missouri opened with a win against Western Illinois, 50-20, because who doesn’t like to start a meal with a cupcake? Things quickly got harder. Missouri played at No. 17 Clemson and got beat down, 62-9. Two days later, Sept. 11 came and went as a regular day for the last time.
Then Missouri had a 13-10 home loss to Michigan State, followed by a 42-24 loss at No. 1 Nebraska.
Missouri did beat a bad Oklahoma State team 24-10 on Oct. 7 in Columbia, which pretty much sounds like a pillow fight of a game.
Missouri then hosted a bad Kansas team the following week and lost 38-17. The season was starting to unravel. The Tigers lost 46-12 at Texas, coached by Mack Brown, and suffered a 39-20 loss at a good Iowa State team, coached by Dan McCarney and led by quarterback Sage Rosenfels.
The Tigers lost 28-18 to Colorado on Nov. 4 to drop to 2-7. All hope of a decent season was long gone. Missouri did notch a win at Baylor on Nov. 11, playing in the home state of George W. Bush, who would eventually be declared the winner of the incredibly close election held the Tuesday before. The state of Missouri narrowly sided with Bush in the election, while electing Democrat Bob Holden Governor by a close margin over Jim Talent.
Missouri closed the season with a spirited effort at home, but it still resulted in a loss, 28-24 to No. 9 Kansas State as Snyder cruised on.
After Smith’s firing, the Tigers looked for a new coach to lead them in the new millennium. They hired a former Don James assistant who had found success as head coach at Toledo. He would shape the next decade and a half of Missouri football. Gary Pinkel.