September 4, 2012

Tuesday Tiger Notebook

Earlier this spring, Gary Pinkel called Missouri's game against Georgia "mammoth." Bulldogs coach Mark Richt described it on Sunday night as "the biggest game of the year, no doubt" and a "monster game." At Mizzou's media day on Monday afternoon, Pinkel used perhaps the most accurate adjective.

"It's historic," Pinkel said. "It's the first SEC game, the first SEC home game so I think it's gonna go down in history. They'll always point to it, talk about it, look at it and how it came out."

Saturday has been circled on the calendar of Mizzou fans for months. When the Southeastern Conference set its schedule, it was clear an effort was made to give the league's two newest teams a marquee game to start the slate.

Missouri is no stranger to big games. The Tigers have played for Big 12 titles. They have played teams ranked No. 1 in the nation. But with the move to a new conference, with months and months of buildup, the hype around Saturday's contest likely exceeds any of those.

"It's a lot different," Marcus Lucas said. "This is our inaugural game. It's a big game, the first SEC home game, everything. A lot of things go into it. It's going to be something that's fun, something we've been looking forward to a long time."

"For the people outside the program I don't think you can overstate anything," Will Ebner said. "It's so exciting because everyone that supports us is so excited. That's what makes big games is the success that we have on the field and also what our fans bring to the table."

"It's gonna be crazy," quarterback James Franklin said. "We're still gonna try to go out there and just play a game."

Eventually that hype will die down and it's just another game. But throughout the week, it is not. It is, as Pinkel said, historic. It is a chance for the Tigers to make a statement.

"Somebody asked me if it was a good chance to shut everybody up," T.J. Moe added. "I think if we come out and play well and win this game, we'll probably get a lot of people talking."

If the Tigers do find a way to win, it just means more hype down the road.

"Hopefully there's a lot of big games to come," Pinkel said.

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