COLUMBIA — It was a cold, 29-degree Saturday morning at Memorial Stadium. But it was also sunny.
Just under two hours before kickoff of the Tigers' game against the Kentucky Wildcats, a smaller-than-usual crowd of Missouri fans gathered around the stadium to tailgate.
In the spirit of Halloween, one fan appeared to be dressed as "the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz." Upon closer look, he was wearing a beer keg costume, laughing as he stood outside a tent in a parking lot.
Another fan came in a tiger costume, with yellow and black striped fur covering her from head to toe. Aside from the hands, the only hole in the suit was for her face. It revealed her smile.
Despite the cold and that the Tigers have not won a game since Sept. 29, something had Missouri fans in a good mood Saturday morning.
"One of us is going to come out an SEC winner," said a man dressed in Kentucky blue.
The two teams, with a combined record of 4-10, badly need a victory. One of them is assured to leave Saturday with a coveted Southeastern Conference win.
Missouri fans hope it will be the home team. They walked around the stadium with pep that was absent two weeks ago when Missouri played Alabama.
Maybe it was the smell of bacon filling the morning air. The tailgating food selection changed to breakfast items because of the early 11 a.m. kickoff time. Fans enjoyed biscuits and gravy, eggs and cinnamon rolls. That's enough to put a smile on a lot of people's faces.
But it was something else that had Missouri fans excited. Fans were laughing as they gathered for group photos. One man popped the cork off of a bottle of champagne to celebrate.
Even Missouri coaches seemed more excited. Missouri cornerbacks coach Cornell Ford wore a wide smile on his way down to the stadium as he was greeted with "Sup, baby."
Two weeks after being dominated by Alabama in the pouring rain, Missouri would play under clear skies.