For the third consecutive season, the Missouri Tigers are bowl eligible under head coach Eli Drinkwitz. Mizzou clinched bowl eligibility with Friday’s 29-27 win over Arkansas to finish the regular season with a record at 6-6 (3-5 SEC).
With only 11 bowl eligible teams in the conference his season, it seemed like Missouri was well positioned to land in the SEC’s Pool of Six — but LSU’s loss to Texas A&M did absolutely no favors for Mizzou.
An LSU loss to Georgia in the SEC Championship game (obviously an expected outcome) would drop them out of a NY6 bowl berth. That would leave one of the 6-6 teams (Florida, Arkansas, and Mizzou) out of the SEC Pool of Six. And don’t be shocked if it’s Missouri because it happened last season.
So, which SEC Pool of Six bowls would make the most sense for Missouri (if they land there):
Liberty: Understandably, a lot of people want a Mizzou vs kansas match up in the Liberty Bowl (and it’s probably the only bowl that could make the matchup happen).
There was also a representative at the Mizzou-Arkansas game:
Liberty Bowl will have a representative at today’s Mizzou-Arkansas game.— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) November 25, 2022
NY Giants & Arizona Cardinals with scouts here, too.
Missouri is no stranger to the Liberty Bowl having played Oklahoma State in 2018, and Memphis would be an easy trip for the Mizzou fanbase to make. However, this game would fall at the same time as basketball’s SEC opener at home against Kentucky. I’m not so sure the athletic department would want that as it happened last year with the Armed Forces Bowl and Braggin’ Rights.
Las Vegas: The Las Vegas Bowl against a Pac-12 opponent makes a lot of sense considering Desiree Reed-Francois was the former AD at UNLV and has a lot of connections there. Obviously, it would be an attractive location that the Mizzou fanbase would absolutely love to make. It will be played on December 17th — and a bowl game well before Christmas could be important for players to get home to families for the holidays.
It’s also a Saturday night primetime game on ABC which could be good, national exposure for the program and falls on the same day (not the same time) as Mizzou-Central Florida basketball.
Let’s check in on some projections, shall we?
CBS’ Jerry Palm: (Birmingham Bowl vs Memphis — December 27th)
247Sports: (Liberty vs Baylor — December 28th)
Action Network’s Brett McMurphy: (Liberty vs kansas)
Sporting News’ Bill Bender: (Las Vegas vs UCLA — December 17th)
College Football News: (Birmingham vs Cincinnati)
Athlon Sports: (Birmingham vs UCF)
USA Today: (Texas vs Oklahoma)
Saturday Down South: (Liberty vs kansas)
Pro Football Network: (Birmingham Bowl vs Wake Forest)
A lot of these projections are all over the place, but most of them are pegging Mizzou to Birmingham which isn’t exactly ideal.
My projection: Last week I said the Las Vegas Bowl and I believe that’s Missouri’s top preference, but it sounds like Vegas understandably would like a better team. I still say Mizzou lands in the SEC Pool of Six bowl against a Big 12 team......the Texas Bowl against Oklahoma.
Whatever happens, with Missouri at 6-6 (again) — there’s just not a lot of room to complain if the Tigers get sent to Birmingham, but it would still be nice to see them land in a more attractive bowl game.
We’ll officially find out on Sunday as Mizzou looks for their first bowl win since 2015 against Minnesota. Stay tuned.