Better late than never. Missouri and Iowa will finally meet on the football field.
The Tigers and Hawkeyes had a four-year series scheduled from 2005-08, but when Missouri asked out of the first two games, the entire set was cancelled. But the Tigers and Hawkeyes will finally see each other in the 2010 Insight Bowl.
The matchup was announced on Sunday night.
"It's always good when we're doing this in December," Gary Pinkel said. "Everything they do is first class and we're excited about being down there and being a part of it."
As for the previous series, Pinkel made no bones about why the Tigers got out of it.
"We got 'em off the schedule cause they were good. We were building our program and that didn't make much sense to me to play such a great football program," Pinkel said. "I would say that's an intelligent decision."
Pinkel's program is now built, and more prepared for a matchup with the Hawkeyes. Missouri finished the regular season 10-and-2 and their bowl destination swung wildly over the next couple of weeks. Speculation ran wild after a win over Kansas that the Tigers could slide into the Orange Bowl as an at-large BCS team. Once Texas A&M went to the Cotton Bowl and Oklahoma beat Nebraska in the Big XII title game, Missouri's focus was on the Insight and the Holiday Bowl.
After the Alamo Bowl selected 10-and-2 Oklahoma State, the Insight had a choice between the Tigers and the 10-and-3 Cornhuskers. They chose Mizzou and the Huskers are headed to the Holiday Bowl in a rematch with Washington.
The Tiger players were excited to learn the destination and the opponent.
"When you have ten wins in a season, you're not really worried about what bowl you're going to go to. Either you get screwed or you don't, it's really out of our hands," T.J. Moe said.
This time, it was perhaps the Tigers who drew the long straw, while Nebraska feels slighted going to the Holiday Bowl. The loss in the Big 12 title game contributed to the Huskers' fall. But that wasn't really the reason Moe spent Saturday night cheering for Oklahoma.
"All I know was I wanted Oklahoma to win by five thousand points and every player on Nebraska's team to quit," Moe said.
"I hate Nebraska. You're not going to leave our conference and win the championship," he continued. "I think it's good for the Big 12 to have a team staying in the conference win the championship."
And good for the Tigers' bowl fate as well.
"All I know is Nebraska has got one more loss on their record than Missouri right now," the sophomore receiver quipped.
Other Tigers were also excited about the matchup, but looking forward rather than back. De'Vion Moore played tailback at Hazelwood Central High School in the 2006 season. The guy handing him the ball? One-time quarterback and now Hawkeye receiver Marvin McNutt.
"I just got off the phone with Marvin," Moore said. "It's gonna be a fun game, that's the first thing we said.
"To have our families be back together cheering, maybe for opposite sides now, but we talked about it before our college days, what it would be like if we were playing against each other. Now, for it to be happening, we'll see."
The Tigers and Hawkeyes will kick off at 9 p.m. on December 28th. The game will be televised nationally by ESPN.
Tickets are on sale now. Fans can purchase bowl tickets through the ticket office at 1-800-CAT-PAWS (at 8 a.m. Monday) or online at mutigers.com. Missouri officials said they were allotted 11,000 tickets for the game and hope to sell out that allotment.
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