The 3 best potential bowl opponents for Missouri
The Missouri Tigers have been one of the feel-good stories of the second half of the 2017 season, recovering from a 1-5 start to win their last six games and qualify for a bowl.
Mizzou (7-5) likely won’t go to a big-name bowl game, but a few options still make a lot of sense for coach Barry Odom’s squad.
There are some Big 12 and ACC opponents out there who are bowl eligible (or almost) and would create some intriguing matchups for the Tigers. From teams with major style differences to big-name foes that would provide a signature win for the Mizzou program, the possibilities are vast for the Tigers heading into bowl season.
However, three opponents stand out above the rest as teams that Mizzou could really benefit from meeting in a bowl game. Here are the teams the Tigers should hope to face when bowl selections are announced:
No, it’s not old rival Kansas, but the Jayhawks are 1-11 and a terrible football program, so there’s no chance of them getting to a bowl anytime soon.
However, a Liberty Bowl appearance against the 7-5 Wildcats would be a great matchup for the Tigers. Not only would it be a game against a former Big 12 rival, but it would also be an interesting matchup of styles.
Kansas State and coach Bill Snyder are pretty much the exact opposite of Mizzou, relying on a strong rushing attack and playing better defense than most teams in the Big 12.
A matchup between these two former rivals in Memphis could be a well-attended and highly viewed bowl game.
This matchup only makes sense at the Texas Bowl in Houston, as the Tigers need to recruit well in Texas to keep their rebuilding process going.
Mizzou used to land some overlooked recruits from the Lone Star State back in its Big 12 days, so getting back on the radars of high schools there would be a great benefit for Odom and his staff.
What better way to do that then to go into Houston and beat a historically great Longhorns program (albeit one that has fallen on hard times recently) in convincing fashion?
Beating the Longhorns in their home state would be a huge boost for Mizzou as the Tigers try to make inroads into the talent-rich state, or at least more than they lave since leaving the Big 12 in 2012.
Texas A&M, Mizzou and Kentucky are the three bowl-eligible SEC teams with the worst records (all at 7-5). Depending on the situation, A&M will likely get the best bowl of the three. Depending on how top-tier bowl fill out their SEC choices, the Tigers and Wildcats might be available for the Birmingham Bowl in Alabama or the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La.
If the Tigers end up at the Independence Bowl against an ACC foe, it would be very interesting to see the Seminoles on the other sideline.
As Mizzou continues to (unfairly) take heat for “not belonging in the SEC,” a win over one of Florida’s biggest rivals in a year the Tigers also routed the Gators would be a nice ending to a surprising season.
Not even the Gators took down the struggling Florida State squad this year, so if the Tigers could do it, that would be another signature win against a program that usually is in the national championship picture.
The Seminoles (5-6) still have some work to do, as they have to beat Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday to reach bowl eligibility. Should they accomplish that, though, a matchup against Mizzou in Shreveport would be exciting.