November 29, 2008

Tiger Notebook: Tough loss to take

Gary Pinkel tried to tell his team they will live to fight another day. That they will be back at Arrowhead Stadium with a chance to win an even bigger game just seven days from now.

"But they don't want to hear that right now," Pinkel said.

Indeed, the sting was an all-out throbbing pain after a 40-37 loss to arch-rival Kansas. The Jayhawks scored the game-winning touchdown on fourth and seven from the 26-yard line when Todd Reesing found Kerry Meier for his school-record 14th catch of the day with 27 seconds left. The score put Kansas up 40-37. Missouri had another chance to extend the game, but Jeff Wolfert's 54-yard field goal was blocked as time expired.

"It's like one of those feelings you can't really explain," Sean Weatherspoon said. "It's worse than any loss I've ever had since I've been here at Mizzou."

That pretty much summed up the sympathy from the Tigers.

The Tigers paid lip service to the Big 12 title game. They realize that a goal-if not all of them-is still out there to be had.

"We're in the championship game," Chase Daniel said. "Not Kansas, not Kansas State, not Baylor. No one else. We're in the championship game. Would we have liked to keep the moment and going? Yeah, sure, but it's a big week."

The Tigers have no idea who they will play in that game. Texas, Texas Tech and Oklahoma are all still alive. Any of the three could provide Mizzou's opposition in next Saturday night's conference championship game. At this point, the Tigers say they don't much care.

"I don't really have a preference," Jaron Baston said. "All three of those teams are great teams. They all three beat each other one way or another. We're just going to have to bring our A game when we play any of those teams."

Missouri may not know the opposition until the BCS standings are released on Sunday night. But it may not matter. The Tigers will be a sizeable underdog to any of them.

"We'll right ourselves tonight," Daniel said. "There's no 24-hour rule about this. There's getting over it as soon as you can because if you don't, you're going to get embarrassed by a great team."

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