November 27, 2007

Media day notes: Second chance at Sooners

Seven weeks ago, the Missouri Tigers played Oklahoma in what was billed as the biggest game in college football that weekend. The Sooners won that one 41-31. Missouri gets a second chance when they face Oklahoma with the Big 12 title on the line Saturday. One reporter asked if the game could be called "the ultimate revenge."

"That sounds like a book: The Ultimate Revenge. Honestly, all kidding aside, we focused on this, that game's over with. There's nothing we can do about that," Gary Pinkel said. "You know what? You perservere and you're a competitor like anybody else and what a great opportunity we have this week."

"We don't want to come around preaching the revenge factor," added quarterback Chase Daniel. "That's not how we do it. We just know we're a more mature team."

Are they a team that is more prepared to topple the Sooners? Missouri thought it was that kind of team last time. And were it not for four turnovers, including a back-breaking fumbled exchange early in the fourth quarter between Daniel and Jeremy Maclin, it just might have happened.

"We made mistakes and they did what a great team is supposed to do and capitalized on those mistakes," said senior wideout Will Franklin. "There's no sugar coating what happened in that game. Those guys played four quarters and did what we didn't do."

"I don't really make too much of that," OU linebacker Curtis Lofton said when asked of the thought Missouri should have won the first matchup. "I thought they brought their A game and we brought our A game and we came out with the win."

Whether the Tigers gave it away or the Sooners earned it is up for interpretation. But Bob Stoops did not think either team "brought their A game."

"I look back at that game and some of the mistakes we made, I think we opened the game up with a fumble," Stoops said. "I think it's probably fair to say that we're both a better team than we were seven weeks ago. I thought they were awfully good coming into that game and in fact everybody else did as well…I think you're splitting hairs. How much better are they than then? How much better are we than then? We'll see."

Sold Out

Missouri put 8,500 tickets on sale for the game at eight o'clock Monday morning. By ten, they were gone.

"I got this email from one of the ticket people, Lisa, and she said 'It's sold out.' I said, 'Sold out? We just put it up at 8 o'clock, 8500 tickets.' And she said, 'No, it's sold out,'" said athletic director Mike Alden. "That's pretty exciting, our fans really stepped up and they knew what was going on."

"It's obvious that Mizzou fans and alums and ex-players, they're all excited about it and jumping in on us, which is good," Pinkel said. "That's what people do. People like to be around organizations that win. And it's great for me to see it. To see that happen, bowl people look at that, I think it says a huge statement for our following, our crowds and our fans. I was very excited when I heard that."

That could be a key factor for the Tigers. If they should lose Saturday's Big 12 title game, an at-large bid to the BCS is not a sure thing. But after taking nearly ten thousand fans to the Sun Bowl in El Paso last year, the Tigers can now show any bowl that may choose them a solid following.

"Saying we had 8500 tickets that went on sale and they were gone within two hours for San Antonio after you just found out you were going? That's pretty good information for bowls to know," Alden said. "And they do know about that."

At the time we spoke with him, Alden was unsure if Missouri would be able to request more tickets for Saturday's game. However, he did say, "I know that if we have an opportunity to get some, I know we were going to try to get those."

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