You are looking live inside Mizzou Arena on the frigid campus of the University of Missouri, which automatically makes be a better journalist, if for one night only.
Understand that here, the people don’t much like the Big 12 and it was that burgeoning discontent that ultimately pushed them out of the league and into the Southeastern Conference. As you can expect, once you’re in the SEC, you develop a certain joie de vivre. Then when you find yourself playing for the SEC football title, it becomes very, well, je ne sais quoi?
And so it was no surprise that when I first arrived at the arena — and I was forewarned the students section is, as you can see, right on top of the floor and that the kids can be rowdy — one lonesome student shouted, “Welcome to Missouri, West Virginia. How the Big 12?” That was promptly followed by laughter, isolated as it was 75 minutes before the game. There was later a poster board illustration of the Mountaineer mascot and some peculiar joke about the resemblance to Miley Cyrus. I’d say you had to be there, but trust me, you didn’t.
But it’s going to be difficult in here tonight. The Tigers (7-0) are pretty good and they play well at home. They’ve won 77 straight at home in non-conference play and are a Petersen Events Centeresque 141-21 since this place opened in the 2004-05 season. Missouri was 17-0 at home last season and has won 22 straight and 37 of 38.
Meanwhile, the Mountaineers (6-2) have played but once in a true road game and that didn’t go very well.
The blog is tipped, and here we are …