Missouri coach Eliah Drinkwitz has been known to drop more than a few jokes during his weekly press conference, and Tuesday was no different.
While speaking about MU’s upcoming road game against Boston College, the second-year coach made it clear that finding future Tigers was not part of the trip’s itinerary.
“It’ll really open up some recruiting grounds for us in the Northeast,” Drinkwitz said. “That’s a joke, guys.”
Though Drinkwitz’s initial comment came during his opening statement, he later expanded on the topic after being asked whether he preferred nonconference games to be against Power Five schools or located more regionally.
The two-game series against Boston College — MU will host BC in 2024 — is one of several that Drinkwitz inherited from his predecessor, Barry Odom. Massachusetts, Buffalo and Army are all future Tigers opponents located in the northeastern part of the U.S.
“If I had my pick of it, I would love to play a regional matchup that was maybe more of a rivalry game, that would be maybe a little bit more exciting for recruits to watch from a TV perspective, or maybe we’re playing in front of your family,” Drinkwitz said. “I don’t know the last time Missouri signed a kid from the great state of Massachusetts.”
There are several regional games scheduled already, including games against Kansas State and Abilene Christian in 2022. Missouri is slated to play Kansas for the first time since 2011 when it hosts the Jayhawks in 2025, and MU basketball rival Illinois is set for a 10-game series against the Tigers from 2026-35.
Other schools already scheduled, though subject to change, include Middle Tennessee, Illinois State, Northern Illinois, Missouri State and Murray State. Of MU’s 24 nonconference opponents between 2022-35, more than 50% are FBS schools; four are Power Five.
Drinkwitz knows Missouri’s position as a Southeastern Conference school makes it an enticing matchup for smaller schools — or even schools from other Power Five conferences like the Atlantic Coast Conference.
“Any time you’re playing against an SEC opponent, you’re gonna get their best effort and their shot,” Drinkwitz said. “It’s the best conference in college football for a reason. You get measured by your performance against SEC teams. (Boston College have) got a lot of NFL-caliber players that they know they’re gonna watch how they perform against the SEC schools as much as anything. And there’s been a lot of trash talk between the leagues, so I’m sure there’s gonna be a little bit extra motivation on both ends and both sides.”
Drinkwitz’s comments on nonconference opponents, though cushioned by praise for BC coach Jeff Hafley’s team, were a hot-button topic on Twitter. Hafley was forwarded his opponent’s quote by hundreds of people but didn’t think much of it.
“I don’t think he meant anything by it. ... If he really didn’t want to come to Boston, he should have called me up and asked me, and I would have got on a plane and fly to Missouri to play,” Hafley said Wednesday. “I don’t care where we play. I don’t.”
Offensive lineman Case Cook made the injury list for the third straight week. It was the second time he was listed as questionable after not suiting up for MU’s game against SEMO. Drinkwitz said Cook could have played against SEMO but that the team wanted to be cautious.
Defensive lineman Darius Robinson is out for the Boston College game after suffering an injury against SEMO.
Defensive back Ennis Rakestraw Jr. is listed as doubtful.