The Missouri Tigers missed out on a trip to the BCS Championship game due to a 38-17 loss to Oklahoma on Saturday night. The consolation prize is a trip to Dallas and the 2008 Cotton Bowl. The Tigers accepted a bid to face Arkansas on New Year's Day.
"We are excited about playing in the Cotton Bowl and playing a great team as Arkansas. It's been a long road. This is our fourth bowl in the last five years," Gary Pinkel said. "We're playing in our first January 1 bowl, in a very prestigious bowl in Dallas, Texas."
It will be Missouri's first New Year's Day Bowl since a loss to Penn State in the Orange Bowl on January 1, 1970. However, it was still somewhat of a tough pill to swallow. Not only did the Tigers fall from BCS No. 1 to entirely out of the picture, but two teams that Missouri beat--Kansas and Illinois--received BCS at-large bids on Sunday evening.
"And I'm pretty sure one of those teams lost a few games," Martin Rucker said. "I don't know about this whole system and how it works. Because I don't think it does."
"It's a little tough, but both those teams had really good years," Lorenzo Williams said. "KU won 11 games and Illinois did a great job in the Big Ten. We had our chance and we didn't take advantage of it."
Despite the snub, the Tigers were able to focus on the positive of an 11-win season and an invitation from one of college football's most storied bowl games.
"I don't really think that's the time for this. We had a great year," Pinkel said. "You can never take away a champ and playing in a champ game. Those things will sort themselves out and this is where we're supposed to be and we're excited about it."
For one Tiger, the Cotton Bowl is just about as good as it can get. Dallas native Chase Daniel will lead his team back to his hometown.
"Going back home to Dallas is unbelievable. I'm going to have a lot of fans out there, a lot of support out there and the Cotton Bowl is one of the most prestigious bowls in history," Daniel said. "You have the national championship, you have the four BCS bowls and then, in my mind, it's got to be the Cotton Bowl."
Tickets go on sale at 8 a.m. Monday at www.mutigers.com or by phone at 1-800-CATPAWS.