Missouri is 0-4 in conference championship games.
The Tigers lost Big 12 title tilts with Oklahoma in 2007 and 2008, lost to Auburn in the 2013 SEC Championship Game and were rolled 42-13 by top-ranked Alabama on Dec. 6 in this season’s SEC title bout.
Missouri also is 3-0 in bowl games after those losses.
The Tigers crushed Arkansas 38-7 in the 2008 Cotton Bowl and finished the season ranked No. 4 in the nation.
The next season, Missouri outlasted Northwestern 30-23 in overtime to win the 2008 Alamo Bowl.
Last season, the Tigers outlasted Oklahoma State 41-31 in the 2014 Cotton Bowl, finishing with a program-record 12 wins.
That bodes well for No. 16 Missouri’s chances Jan. 1 against Minnesota, 8-4, in the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla.
Obviously, the Tigers, 10-3, would have preferred to beat the Crimson Tide and claim the program’s first conference title since sharing the 1969 Big Eight crown with Nebraska.
There’s nothing that can be done about it now.
“You’ve got to move on,” MU coach Gary Pinkel said. “I thought we could have played better against maybe the best team in the country. That was my disappointment. I’m responsible that they play well.”
Missouri has matched the program record with 22 wins in the last two seasons. The 2007-08 teams also won 22 games in back-to-back years.
A win against the Golden Gophers would give the 2013-14 teams the record outright, so that’s the goal for the Tigers.
“Our guys are positive and they are winners,” Pinkel said. “They have been tremendously successful this year. Now, can you get to that next notch up there? Can you get to 11 wins?”
It’s about building the program.
Missouri has won two straight bowl games, including the 2011 Independence Bowl.
The Tigers have only won three straight bowl games two other times in school history, winning four in a row from 1961-68 and three straight from 1973-79.
“That’s the responsibility thing,” Pinkel said. “You want to help build tradition here? You want to help build on it so the next team’s got to do it, let’s win three (bowl games) in a row.”