COLUMBIA — A familiar face will be peering out from local newsstands this week. A photograph of MU quarterback Chase Daniel pumping his arm in victory after last weekend’s 36-28 win over KU was selected as the cover image of the next edition of Sports Illustrated.
About 3.15 million copies of the issue have already been printed and are expected to reach subscribers and retailers Wednesday or Thursday.
The cover was selected Sunday night after Missouri beat KU and jumped to the No. 1 ranking in the Bowl Championship Series, said Mark Godich, Sports Illustrated college football senior editor and MU graduate.
“With the way Missouri played Saturday night and us wanting Heisman Trophy coverage on the cover, it was the obvious choice,” Godich said.
The magazine’s cover story is titled, “Mizzou, That’s Who: The Tigers are No. 1 for the first time since 1960. Can They Beat Oklahoma?”
The cover also teases to a story about Heisman contenders, including Daniel. The 11-1 Tigers face the University of Oklahoma, the only team that has beat them, Saturday in the Big 12 Championship game in San Antonio.
“It was the best picture we had that showed the triumphant spirit of the team,” said Terry McDonell, editor of the Sports Illustrated Group. Several Sports Illustrated employees are MU graduates, McDonell said, and the Tigers’ football team has been the buzz of the magazine lately. “We have some big Missouri fans who have been talking about this for a while,” he said.
Anticipating increased demand, he said extra copies of the magazine would be sent to Missouri locations.
“We’re getting as many in there as we can,” he said. “Missouri is a great market. It’s a great football state, and it hasn’t had the kind of success it likes for a while.”
Godich said he believed this is the only time the MU football team has been on the Sports Illustrated cover. KU was on the cover of the magazine last week, shortly before their loss to MU, causing some to speculate the team was another victim of the dreaded “SI Jinx.” The “jinx” is believed to bring bad luck to athletes and teams appearing on the cover, and it has even been the topic of a Sports Illustrated cover.
“It is a running joke in the office,” Godich said. “At our meeting, us Missouri graduates got ripped on about the decision to put the Tigers on the cover.”
Godich said he has followed the football team since he graduated from MU in 1979, and while maintaining professional objectivity, he is impressed with how the team has played.
“This is a special team with a real swagger and plays with a lot of confidence,” he said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they won this weekend — it’s a tossup.”
Godich said the magazine sent one writer and two photographers to Arrowhead Stadium for the game.