It's not easy to change conferences. During Arkansas' first season in the SEC, the Razorbacks went 3-7-1, though the conference change like wasn't to blame for the loss to The Citadel. South Carolina didn't do much better, going 5-6 in its inaugural year, losing its first four conference games in the process.
But losing at home to a mediocre Big East team with bowl eligibility on the line? That's got to sting for a new SEC program, even if its fellow Big 12 immigrant wasn't still mathematically in contention in the more rugged SEC West. Of course, Texas A&M is doing quite well in what is also its first trip around the SEC.
And it's not exactly like Missouri lost this one on the cheap. Syracuse narrowly outgained Missouri (508-484), made just as many first downs and didn't win the turnover battle. Down 17-10 after both sides had a scoreless first quarter, the Orange simply outscored the Tigers 21-10 in the fourth. The dagger was a 17-yard touchdown pass with 20 seconds left that gave Syracuse the lead.
Where does Missouri go from here? To College Station, where they have an opportunity to cause a bitter end to A&M's season and get that bowl berth after all. But if that doesn't happen, it's hard to see any scenario that doesn't involve Gary Pinkel beginning next season on the hot seat.
It's not easy for a coach to change conferences, either. But Pinkel better find a way to adapt quickly.