The Academy Sports+Outdoors Texas Bowl will pit two former Big 12 rivals, and while many were hoping for a Texas vs. Texas A&M matchup that didn’t come to fruition, the consolation prize could have plenty of subplots of its own:
On December 27, Missouri and Texas will play at NRG Stadium in Houston.
Sources: Texas vs. Missouri in Texas Bowl— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) December 3, 2017
The Tigers and Longhorns haven’t played since Mizzou’s 17-5 win in Columbia in November 2011. The game was played mere days after Missouri announced its intention to leave the Big 12 and join the SEC.
Since that game, the Tigers have gone 47-32, and the Longhorns have gone 41-38. In 2017, both teams have taken on seasons full of plot twists. Missouri began the year 1-5 and appeared to get head coach Barry Odom firmly on the hot seat in just his second year succeeding Gary Pinkel; the Tigers caught fire over the last half of the season, winning six games in a row by an average score of 51-21.
Texas, meanwhile, has endured its own ups and downs in Tom Herman’s first year in charge. The Longhorns furthered Herman’s big-game reputation, nearly pulling upsets of USC, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State despite youth (particularly at quarterback) but posting frustrating performances in home losses to Maryland and Texas Tech. A nice road win over West Virginia ensured UT’s bowl eligibility.
The story line for this one would be pretty obvious and will give us reason to relive (and potentially re-litigate) a lot of old conference realignment narratives. And I’m sure former Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds’ comments from 2013 will be brought up a time or two.
"We're going to have good years again," Dodds promised. "Our bad years are not that bad. Take a school like Missouri. Our bad years are better than their good years. But we've created a standard."
Still, there are plenty of interesting stories simply associated with this year’s teams. Texas’ defense is quite familiar with the type of offense Missouri runs and had some fantastic moments, holding West Virginia to 14 points, Oklahoma State to 13, Baylor to seven, etc. But Missouri’s defense improved down the stretch and faces a Texas offense that alternated between intriguing and listless.
"On behalf of the University of Missouri, Chancellor Cartwright, Coach Odom and our student-athletes, we are honored to accept an invitation to participate in the 2017 Texas Bowl," said Mizzou Director of Athletics Jim Sterk. "We are excited about playing in Houston, an area which we recruit, and look forward to Mizzou fans turning out to cheer on the Tigers against Texas."
Mizzou, 7-5 on the season and winners of six-straight, will face former Big 12 Conference opponent Texas (6-6) when the nationally televised (ESPN) Texas Bowl kicks off. Both teams will be playing in the Texas Bowl for the second time in their respective histories, with Mizzou dropping a 35-13 decision to Navy in the 2009 game and Texas losing to Arkansas, 31-7, in 2014.
"I am so proud of our players and coaches for staying together and closing the 2017 season with six-straight wins to become bowl-eligible, and we look forward to playing Texas in Houston," said Mizzou Head Coach Barry Odom. "We're fortunate to have the opportunity to play a Big 12 opponent in a great NFL stadium like NRG Field."
A win over the Longhorns would be historic for Mizzou, as the 2017 Tigers would become just the second team in college football history (Rutgers, 2008) to register eight victories after starting the season 1-5. Since its 1-5 start Mizzou has ran off six-straight wins by an average margin of 30.0 points while scoring 45 or more points in each game for the first time in program history.
Come for the semi-bitter history, stay for what should be an exciting contest. The Texas Bowl will kick off at 8:00 p.m. CT on December 27 on ESPN. Learn more about game day details here. Tickets can be purchased here.