The Tigers are riding a wave of a 3-game winning streak for the first time all season. Will their late season surge turn into a good bowl bid?
After reeling three straight wins off to end the season, the Missouri Tigers sit at 7-5 while awaiting their bowl fate, to be announced Sunday.
Things haven't gone so good for the Tigers in recent years when it comes to being selected for bowls. After its historic 11-2 season in 2007, Missouri was passed over for a BCS bid by a Kansas team that they had beaten only two weeks earlier. The same type of thing happened in each of the next three years, which is one reason (albeit minor) why the Tigers decided to move to greener pastures in the SEC.
Because of a logjam in the middle of the conference (four teams with either 4 or 5 conference losses), there are a lot of different routes that the bowls with Big 12 affiliations can go. Let's line them up and see what Missouri will be left with.
BCS - Oklahoma State will be the conference champions if they win Bedlam this weekend, a game they are favored in.
AT&T Cotton - Kansas State will look to lock up their 10th win of the season against Iowa State this weekend. If they take care of business, the Cotton Bowl can't pass them up, especially with a fanbase that travels extremely well.
Valero Alamo - Oklahoma, with nine wins, plays a bowl game in Texas and sells a lot of tickets. Pretty simple.
Insight - Baylor will most likely get this bowl game if they beat Texas on Saturday. Yes, the Bears defense is suspect, but with no real offensive threat at quarterback for the Longhorns, Baylor will be able to put up enough points to win to improve their record to 9-3.
Bridgepoint Education Holiday - Texas, with its rabid fanbase, will then most likely be chosen for the Holiday Bowl, which takes place in San Diego. They will get the bowl the most money, it's as simple as that.
Meineke Car Care of Texas - Texas A&M will stay near College Station, playing in Houston for the Texas Bowl. It could be argued that the Big 12 will try to get the bowl to pass over the Aggies, but the financial uptick that Houston will see because of an A&M appearance will be tough to pass up.
Now the only bowl with a Big 12 affiliation left after the Texas bowl is the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, but there are two teams from the Big 12 that have bowl eligibility: Missouri and Iowa State.
Iowa State is known for traveling well and was chosen over Missouri for the Insight Bowl two years ago, even though the Tigers beat the Cyclones that year and finished 8-4 while Iowa State finished 6-6.
Even though the Tigers have a better record than Iowa State again, with the move to the SEC complete, don't be surprised if the Big 12 gives Missouri one last taste of why it is running from the unstable conference.
So then, with the Big 12 out of bowl games that they are affiliated with, the Tigers might have to look elsewhere.
The bowl that makes the most sense for Missouri when looking outside the Big 12 would be the TicketCity Bowl, located in the old Cotton Bowl in Dallas. The Tigers have a good fanbase in North Texas and showed up in droves to the last game that was played in the Cotton Bowl (2007).
With a mediocre record, no history of travelling well to bowl games in "down" years and the coming move to the SEC, don't be surprised if the Tigers get the short end of the stick this year.
Official Prediction: New Era Pinstripe Bowl