December 6, 2009

Talking Texas Bowl

For the fifth straight year, the Missouri Tigers are going bowling. For at least the second time in three years, the announcement of that bowl game was tinged with a sense that Mizzou had gotten less than it deserved. The 8-and-4 Tigers are bound for the Texas Bowl while two 6-and-6 teams were taken for games higher in the Big 12 pecking order.

Nonetheless, the coaches and players weren't voicing that sentiment.

"We are proud that we had the fourth best record in the Big 12," Gary Pinkel said. "The process of the Big 12 has been frustrating, but I also don't think this is the appropriate time."

"If you go into it with that mindset, then you won't be preparing the right way," Sean Weatherspoon said. "It's not that big of a deal for me. We get to play on ESPN, I get to go back home, I got a lot of people calling me asking for tickets. I'm probably gonna have 20, 30 people at the game, so I'm excited."

The opponent in the New Year's Eve game at Houston's Reliant Stadium will be the Naval Academy. The Midshipmen stand 8-and-4 on the season with next weekend's game against Army to go before the bowl game.

Of course, Navy brings to the game the triple option attack. The Midshipmen ran for 279.67 yards a game this season, third in the country. Missouri brings the nation's No. 12 run defense to the table, allowing only 96.42 yards per game.

"I think we'll do a better job of preparing for Navy than we have in the past," Weatherspoon said. "We've kind of known what kind of offense we'd be playing, it's kind of generic, but this time it's a little different so we've got to do a better job."

"They're very good at it," Pinkel said. "We're kind of analyzing that the best we can right now. It will be a big challenge for our defense."

Kickoff for the Texas Bowl is scheduled for 2:30 Central time in Houston on January 31st. The Tigers begin bowl practices on Thursday afternoon and will be fans' most complete source for coverage of the team leading up to the bowl game.

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