South Carolina 27, Missouri 24: The pain means you can feel

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

It's probably just a fantastic ability to rationalize, but as last night's game went to overtime, I realized two things: 1) This game really may not turn out how I want it to, and 2) Missouri is going to be playing in a lot of these games. Missouri belongs in the SEC -- October has proven that beyond a shadow of a doubt -- and with higher stakes come more incredible highs and gut-wrenching lows.

Missouri has been closing games like crazy in the fourth quarter but didn't tonight. Missouri has been making the key plays and pulling away but didn't tonight. The Tigers needed just one more play but couldn't find it. As a result, they lost. It's really hard to win every football game, and it's doubly hard to win every SEC football game. Mizzou couldn't get it done, and now the scramble to still claim the East title begins. It'll be tough, just like it'll be tough any time Missouri has a really good football team. This is what we signed up for when we agreed to leave for the SEC: tough schedules, incredible wins, and incredible losses. We've had both this season, and we'll have a ton of both moving forward. The pain lets you know you're alive; and both you and Missouri are really, really alive right now.

With each passing week, we've learned about this team's ability to handle increasingly strong press. Now we get to learn about its ability to handle setbacks. The former is awesome; the latter will determine your fate in the SEC East race as often as not. Whatever the goals are for this team, the next two games, against inferior competition, are vital to achieving them. Tonight was fun, exciting, and eventually painful. There's a lot of that in Missouri's future. I hope you're up for it. Missouri is where it belongs. For better and for worse.

(And no, Missouri is still not cursed.)

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