Missouri, whose athletic department officials as late as Tuesday thought the Tigers would be invited to play in the Insight Bowl, is preparing for the worst: Selection to play in the Dec. 31 Texas Bowl in Houston.
The Texas Bowl has the final spot in the pecking order of eight bowl games contracted by the Big 12 Conference.
“This isn’t over,” Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe said Wednesday afternoon in a telephone interview with The Kansas City Star.
“I know (Missouri athletic director) Mike Alden and the Missouri folks have made a tremendous case to all the bowls they might be selected to," Beebe said. "I don’t know that Missouri could do a better job than they are doing.”
And, Beebe added, he shares the concern of MU officials that the Tigers might be passed over for the Insight Bowl bid by a 6-6 Iowa State team.
“I am concerned about a bowl that would select a team that has two less wins and was beaten by that team head to head.”
Unfortunately, that is just the scenario Missouri officials have come to fear.
“We’re hearing that the Insight Bowl may prefer to invite Iowa State than us,” said Chad Moller, the director of media relations for MU athletics. “The last time they played there they brought 20,000 fans.”
So, 6-6 Iowa State in the Insight Bowl, and 6-6 Texas A&M in the Independence Bowl, and 8-4 Missouri in Texas bowl?
“That’s what we’re hearing, too,” Zac Emmons, a spokesman for the Houston-based Texas Bowl, told The Star on Wednesday afternoon.
Alden was obviously not happy about the situation. However, for public consumption at least, Alden repeated the Big 12 Conference party line.
“The bowls can invite any team they choose,” Alden said. “We’ll be excited to play in any bowl we are invited to.”
However, Alden said he had spoken several times with Beebe on the matter and that Missouri would continue to do everything within the rules of the Big 12 Conference to inform bowl officials of the pluses of inviting Missouri.