Looking at the SEC's newest teams and how they fit in
|Missouri's Most Common SEC Opponents
As familiar as Texas A&M might be to the SEC, Missouri is almost as unfamiliar. As they enter the league, A&M has played at least 50 games each against two different SEC teams. Not counting A&M, Missouri has played 29 against the entire conference.
Its limited experience so far has been a good one for Missouri. The Tigers are 20-8-1 against the SEC; the only SEC teams with a winning record against them are Kentucky(!) and Georgia. The only team that's never faced Missouri is Tennessee, oddly enough. And Ole Miss, the team that has faced the Tigers the most, has been on the opposite end of some lopsided losses. Outside of the Rebels' lone win in 1974, Missouri has won each game of the series by at least 13 points.
Missouri's regular-season and bowl record books are also full of Tigers who made their marks against the SEC. The largest comeback win in Missouri history was against South Carolina in the Independence Bowl -- a 21-point rally that we'll talk more about next week. (And, man, I'm looking forward to that.)
Most points scored in a bowl quarter? Against Auburn in the 1973 Sun Bowl -- 28 points in the second. A half? A tie between that Auburn game and Arizona State in the 1972 Fiesta (still 28). Most in a game? 38 points in three games -- with one of those games against South Carolina and one against Arkansas. That Arkansas game in the Cotton Bowl is also the largest margin of victory for the Tigers in a bowl game. (They won 38-7.) At least Georgia blanked Missouri in the 1960 Orange Bowl.
The most rushing yards Missouri gained in a bowl game was 402 yards against Alabama in the 1968 Gator Bowl. (Imagine Bear's reaction to that.) The most rushing TDs in a postseason contest is a tie at four between Alabama in that same game and Arkansas in the 2008 Cotton Bowl. Auburn also holds a tie for the most passing TDs allowed to Missouri with three in that 1973 Sun Bowl. (The other is against Oregon State in the 2006 Sun.)
And suffice it to say that Arkansas is happy to never meet Tony Temple again after he rushed for 281 yards and four touchdowns in that 2008 Cotton Bowl -- both are Missouri bowl records. Oh, and there's 432 yards of total offense against South Carolina, among a couple of records in that game. Which I am so looking forward to writing about.
So maybe the critics are right and Missouri will have a hard time competing in the SEC. But you have to admit that the history gives Tiger fans plenty of reasons to like their chances.