JSF Power Rankings: Most Anticipated Mizzou Games in Last 5 years [MIZZOU]
Given the current buzz surrounding Saturday night’s Mizzou-Oklahoma battle in Columbia, this edition of JSF’s Power Rankings looks at how it matches up in the Top 5 Most Anticipated Mizzou Games in the past 5 years.
As a bonus, we reached out to a few titans of Mizzou Sports coverage - Columbia Daily Tribune’s Mizzou Football expert Dave Matter and RockMNation.com’s RPT - for their take on each of the ones we selected…
5.) 2010 Oklahoma vs. Mizzou
JB: I certainly didn’t intend for this week’s game to be the first one on the list, but with all the factors that have come together – Gameday’s appearance in town, nationally televised, OU unveiled as the #1 BCS ranked team, MU as one of only 6 unbeaten teams left – this game has gathered significant momentum in a short period of time for Mizzou.
If they win, they’ll be in prime position to steal the Big 12 North from everyone’s favorite, Nebraska, and line themselves up for a potential dream ending to the season if they can win out.
DM: There are tangible implications to this one – Big 12 standings, bowl appeal – but there are some massive symbolic measures at stake, too. He’s been here a decade, but there’s still a minority of fans who won’t buy into Pinkel until he knocks off Oklahoma or Texas. That would change with a win Saturday.
RPT: A “make a statement to the nation” game. Throw in GameDay and homecoming, and it’s quite a buildup.
4.) 2007 Nebraska vs. Mizzou
JB: While the scope of the ultimate payoff was still somewhat blurry before the game, the anticipation for Mizzou’s first Big 12 contest of the year was as tangible as anything fans had seen in the recent years prior.
The Tigers were beginning their march up the rankings and sat at #17 with traditional Big 8/12 bully Nebraska coming to town ranked #25. The game scored a prime TV slot and Mizzou faithful were draped in gold and fired up to watch the Tigers’ coming out party.
The 41-6 destruction of the Cornhuskers lived up to the hype by providing one of the most spectacular performances at Faurot Field they’d seen in decades. The win took Mizzou all the way up to #11 in the AP Poll and convinced most skeptics that the team was legit.
DM: In the closing minutes of MU’s offensive clinic, I turned to my boss and asked if it was far-fetched to write that Chase Daniel was a legit Heisman candidate. His response: Sure, why not? The buildup for that game was huge, and MU did what MU rarely does and actually exceeded expectations.
RPT: (ranked it #1) A full offseason of buildup culminated in perhaps the most perfect night Faurot Field has ever seen. Sure, Nebraska was historically awful that year, but that doesn’t change the amount of anticipation there was going into that game. That game was circled long before the 2007 season ever kicked off.
3.) 2008 Mizzou vs. Texas
JB: After the unexpected home loss to Oklahoma State knocked the Tigers down from #3 to #11 in the AP Poll, just a week later they had a unique chance to rejuvenate the massive expectations the team had heading into the season – head down to Austin to take on the #1 ranked Longhorns.
The anticipation was largely based in nervousness due to the fact that this game presented two clear cut options for Mizzou: 1.) stabilize a season that began with national title hopes or 2.) watch the season get flushed down the toilet. We can simply confirm that a 56-31 destruction at the hands of Texas meant the Tigers went with option #2.
DM: The loss to OSU the week before killed the buzz for the trip to Austin.
(RPT didn’t include this one on his list…meaning JB was alone on this selection)
2.) 2007 Kansas vs. Mizzou
JB: If you were to draw up a scenario to ratchet up maximum intensity for a Mizzou football game, it might include having the Tigers ranked #3 in the nation facing off against #2 undefeated Kansas and for effect, have the game hosted in the middle of the KU-MU battle zone, Kansas City. All true in 2007.
To crank it up another notch, before Mizzou and Kansas took the field that night, #1 LSU lost, meaning that the winner of the Border War would not only take the Big 12 North but also the #1 AP ranking in the country and the #1 spot in the BCS.
DM: Gary Pinkel has said several times since that epic Camarohead Clash that MU and KU will never meet again under such circumstances. That’s a nice way of saying, “Because we sure as hell know Kansas will never again be ranked that high.” I’ve never seen MU coaches openly weep on the field like they did after that win.
RPT: The buildup here was immense simply because of how everything played out between both teams. As soon as Kansas beat Oklahoma State in Stillwater and Missouri took care of Texas A&M at home, sights were dead set on Kansas City. The week leading up to that game was the most simultaneously awesome AND unbearable week I can remember.
1.) 2007 Mizzou vs. Oklahoma – Big 12 Conference Championship Game
JB: Let’s just say that all the stuff I described above that we all believed could have happened by beating KU, did happen. Mizzou’s 36-28 win sent them to the Big 12 Conference Championship Game againt #9 Oklahoma as the #1 team in the AP Poll and the #1 team according to the BCS rankings. For the first time, the Tigers were just one game from a shot at the newfangled BCS National Championship.
Then the Tigers were outscored 24-3 in the second half and got whipped by OU 38-17. If we ever do a Power Rankings on the crappiest halves in a Mizzou game, this game might repeat as the winner.
DM: No-brainer for the biggest ever. Biggest stakes ever. Biggest stage ever. Missouri might never have a direct path to the national championship game like it did that day in San Antonio. Slay the Sooners, and the Tigers probably have an easier matchup in the BCS championship game against Ohio State. Win and you’re in. Will the Tigers ever get closer?
RPT: (ranked it #4) Why is it buried? The buildup wasn’t quite the same. Was this the most important game of the last few years? It’s dead even with Armageddon at Arrowhead. But can a game that most preseason prognosticators didn’t expect to happen be the most anticipated?
Another special thanks to Dave Matter from the Daily Tribune and RPT from RockMNation.com for their input. One thing we can all agree on is that this weekend is going to be a big one for Tiger fans.