It’s about time for the Missouri football team to start making its holiday travel plans.
The Tigers will find out this afternoon where they are headed for their first bowl game since 1998. Missouri’s bowl destination will be announced today at a reception in the Tiger Lounge on the third floor of the Memorial Stadium press tower. The event is free and open to the public.
The doors will open at 4 p.m., with drinks and snacks available. At 4:30, the Bowl Championship Series selection show will be shown on ABC, and coach Gary Pinkel will give a press conference beginning at 5.
Missouri’s 8-4 record, 4-4 in the Big 12 Conference, makes it a likely candidate for the Independence Bowl, which is played at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 31 in Shreveport, La. The game will be televised on ESPN.
Big 12 champion Kansas State and South Division champion Oklahoma are likely headed to Bowl Championship Series bowls, reserved for the champions of the Big 12, Big Ten Conference, Southeastern Conference, Pacific 10 Conference, Big East Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference, as well as two at-large bids.
Kansas State, by virtue of its 35-7 win against Oklahoma on Saturday, will land in the Fiesta Bowl. Oklahoma could play for the national championship in the Sugar Bowl, or the Sooners could slip to a lesser BCS bowl.
Texas is the big loser in Kansas State’s upset of Oklahoma. The Longhorns stood to go to the Fiesta Bowl, but the Wildcats’ win guaranteed them one of the Big 12’s two possible BCS bids, knocking Texas out of the picture.
Instead, Texas is likely headed to the Cotton Bowl or the Holiday Bowl. After the BCS, the Cotton Bowl gets the next pick from Big 12 schools, and it is likely to take Texas or Oklahoma State.
Then, the Holiday Bowl will probably take the other, and the Alamo Bowl would be left with Nebraska.
That would leave Missouri in the Independence Bowl, pitted against a Southeastern Conference opponent, most likely Arkansas or Auburn. The Alamo Bowl in San Antonio and the Holiday Bowl in San Diego also are possibilities.
Before Missouri’s game against Iowa State on Nov. 29, Alamo Bowl chairman Jack Rogers said the Tigers had a shot at heading to San Antonio. Rogers explained that if the Big 12 gets two teams into BCS bowls, each subsequent bowl would have the option of skipping over as many as two teams to make its pick.
Hence, the Holiday Bowl (7 p.m. Dec. 30 on ESPN) could skip over two teams and take Missouri. If it doesn’t, the Alamo Bowl (8 p.m. Dec. 29 on ESPN) could skip over the remaining team to take the Tigers.
Realistically, though, that scenario is not likely to play out. Tigers fans shouldn’t start making their reservations until the official word comes down this afternoon, but all signs point to Shreveport.
Then again, all signs pointed to Oklahoma winning the conference title.