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For Missouri, getting a bowl game is less important than meeting expectations

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Winning a bowl game offers some prestige, but double-digit wins are a whole different story.

AutoZone Liberty Bowl - Missouri v Oklahoma State Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

As the 2019 football season quickly approaches, there are several storylines on our collective consciousness: Will Albert Okwuegbunam stay healthy? Will Kelly Bryant match his high expectations? Can the defense finally live up to Barry Odom’s high standards? Will special teams improve over their abysmal 2018?

More than anything, though, fans are waiting to hear back on the NCAA’s sanctions, which the university has appealed. There’s a new rumor every day as to how the appeal process will turn out, though most people are concerned about one major aspect of said penalties — the 2019 bowl ban.

Of all the sanctions, the bowl ban seemed especially cruel. Going into a year where Missouri has the most promise of the Barry Odom era, the possibility of playing in a New Years Six bowl seemed tangible... maybe even likely!

However, the chance exists that the bowl ban may not be overturned. Trying to predict the NCAA is like trying to predict the weather: sometimes you’re right, and sometimes a tornado blows your roof off. Even though the just argument seems to be with the Tigers, the NCAA is a system built on injustice. So maybe we shouldn’t even get our hopes up.

We posed a question on our Twitter page yesterday regarding the possibilities of a bowlers and bowl-filled season.

At the time of this writing, 10-2 with no bowl was winning this matchup 62 to 38 percent. This is good! I’m proud of y’all!

Don’t get me wrong, bowl games — wins, especially — are a lot of fun. They’re aptly situated around the holiday season for optimal viewing enjoyment. You often get to play a team you don’t play much. There may even be a fun road trip in the cards, depending on how things shake out!

When you think about it, though, the above question is really no contest.

Let’s play a little mental game. In the past 25 years, the Tigers have made 14 bowl games. In the next 30 seconds, think about how many of those games you remember in good detail.

[Jeopardy theme plays]

OK, round two. Also in the past 25 years, the Tigers have won double-digit games five times. In the next 30 seconds, think of memorable moments from those years not counting the bowl games.

You may not even need 30 seconds, right? I know I didn’t. The latter seasons are far more memorable than the former.

It’s easier than ever to make a bowl game in the current iteration of the FBS. You don’t even need to be good in conference play so long as you take care of business in the non-con. You may not even get the joy of playing another good team or going to a cool place to play — can you say, “Shreveport”?

Double-digit seasons, though? Those are different. Those are the seasons that build both legends and fans. They’re made up of long nights, tense wins and lots of celebrating. And while the bowl games can be an integral part of those memorable times, they’re often just the cherry on top.

What would you rather have — a season with an undeniable Top 15 team and no superfluous bowl trophy? Or a mediocre slog through 12 games that ends with Kelly Bryant lifting the Birmingham Bowl trophy?

The answer seems pretty obvious, doesn’t it?