For a good two months everything that happened within the program was trending in the right direction, other than an average defensive end getting arrested and a tight ends coach leaving for a better job. Otherwise, Odom was winning games, important games. He was getting recruits. He was getting more security and more money for his staff. He landed in a decent bowl that MU fans could get to easily - and many came and showed their support. Then over the course of three hours, a decent but inconsistent Oklahoma State team made a few more plays than Missouri in an incredibly close and competitive game. Do the three or four plays that were the difference in winning the game erase all the positive things that happened in November and December? I don't think so, but surely they strip the luster off somewhat.
But I've done this long enough to know that the result of one stand-alone exhibition game doesn't reflect what's really happening within the program or what will happen next. Think back to 2006. Missouri is mostly outplaying Oregon State in the Sun Bowl. Then the Beavers make a run - and win on a last-second play. MU finished 8-5. Total buzzkill after Pinkel's best season in terms of wins. If you can't finish against Oregon State (a team in orange known as OSU??), then clearly Pinkel and this staff aren't fit to guide the program any further. What happened the next year? 12-2. Armageddon at Arrowhead. Big 12 North champs. Number 1 for a week. Cotton Bowl champs. None of which would have seemed possible back in El Paso, Texas.
That's why I think it's more important when you take stock in a program and its direction and overall state you look beyond how one bowl game unfolds in the final minutes. Again, I'm not saying this if Oklahoma State routs Missouri and the Tigers flat don't show up. But that wasn't the case.