If you're a Mizzou fan, you've heard it a million times. Missouri and Kansas have long disputed the actual record between the two teams, an argument that all comes down to one massive game. In 1960, the Missouri Tigers fielded what was then the best team to ever sport the black and gold. Led by legendary coach Dan Devine, Missouri enjoyed a season that featured victories against Oklahoma, Penn State, SMU, Colorado, Nebraska, and eventually the #4 Navy Midshipmen in the Orange Bowl.
Though it is a season that is still revered by Missouri fans as one of the best of all time, there is still one dark spot that will never go away. The end of the regular season was a game against the hated Jayhawks on November 19th in Columbia. Mizzou was the top team in the nation, expecting to win against a Kansas team that had amassed a 6-2-1 record with a signature win against #11 TCU to start their season. They came to Columbia with one little secret weapon, a weapon that would keep Mizzou from getting its only football national championship.
The situation of Bert Coan was an ironic one, as he was a transfer from TCU after his freshman season, the team KU beat to start the 1960 season. Bert Coan was eventually ruled ineligible by the NCAA because of recruiting violations from coach Bud Adams while Coan was still at TCU. The problem was, the ruling was not made until after Kansas upset then #1 Missouri 23-7. Kansas did have to forfeit the victory, hence the dispute in the overall record between Mizzou and Kansas. Trouble is, there was already a national champion crowned for 1960.
A team that wasn't even ranked to start the season, the Gophers of Minnesota started their season with a victory against #12 Nebraska and never looked back. Though they didn't play another ranked team until Week 7, they plastered #1 Iowa 27-10 and laid claim to the top spot in the country before a puzzling upset at the hands of Purdue. Even after the loss to the Boilermakers, Minnesota was able to reclaim the #1 spot after a victory against Wisconsin. They were crowned the AP National Champions because of the upset of the #1 Missouri Tigers by KU in the final week of the regular season.
So here we are.
Mizzou fans catch plenty of grief by opposing fans on a regular basis because of the lack of national championships from the football program, even though it could be argued Mizzou got one in 1960. Minnesota would be none too pleased if Missouri fans somehow claimed it for themselves, so why don't we settle this in Orlando on Thursday? Maybe the fans can find a little extra motivation to avenge a 1960 debacle, though none of us will ever be satisfied with the outcome of that fateful season.
But hey, beating Minnesota couldn't hurt, could it?