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Mizzou Morning Matters

092223_Mizzou Morning Matters

COLUMBIA, Mo. — We’re two days away from college football’s version of Selection Sunday, and we here at your favorite Mizzou newsletter understand your trepidation. Your Mizzou muscle memory conditions you for these feelings of unease. But short of an absolutely chaotic weekend of conference championship games, we’re here to tell you it’s going to be OK.

But we know you have questions. I asked for them this week on social media — and you came through. Pour a second cup of morning coffee and let’s get through this together. Some of the following questions have been edited for clarity and sanity.

Q: Have they told Mizzou the NY6 isn’t announced until 1:30 CT?  The show starts on my guide at 11 a.m. Will they really talk about the four teams for 2.5 hours?  I’d assume they want to get to all the playoff and NY6 bowls before NFL kicks off. — Jeff

A: What is this NFL you speak of? It’s College Football season, Jeff. Yes, the College Football Playoff semifinal pairings will be revealed on ESPN right around 11:15 a.m. CT on ESPN. Shortly after that, they’ll also tell us who is No. 5 and 6 — the teams that just missed out on the playoffs. Then, at 1:30 p.m., we’ll learn the four matchups for the other New Year’s Six bowl games: the Peach, the Fiesta, the Orange and the Cotton. At that time, ESPN will also unveil the updated CFP Top 25 rankings. That segment is expected to be completed right around 1:45 p.m.

Q: Watch party at Mizzou Arena before the basketball game?? — @KackyJo89

A: The ESPN selection show will be broadcast live on the TVs around the concourse of Mizzou Arena before the men’s basketball team tips off at 2 p.m. against Wichita State. Mizzou’s bowl announcement could potentially come just minutes before pregame introductions for the basketball game, so we don’t want to disrupt the pregame routine down on Norm Stewart Court. But fans attending the game will certainly be made aware of the bowl matchup. The Mizzou Arena ticket office window will be open for in-person bowl ticket orders during the basketball game.

Q: From a recruiting standpoint, what is the best outcome for Mizzou Football? I think a New Year’s Six win against Ohio State would help Coach Drinkwitz get some of those 5-star guys to stay. What do you think? — @Madden_MSHN

A: I’m always reluctant to put too much emphasis on one game’s impact on a recruit’s decision. Does one individual result tip the scales in a recruit’s mind? Maybe. Maybe not. But more than anything, Mizzou has an opportunity to play in a prestigious NY6 bowl game in a major market in an NFL stadium with the chance to win 11 games for just the fourth time in program history. Recruiting is all about selling the combination of your vision and track record.

As for the Buckeyes, they’re certainly in the mix for a New Year’s Six game but probably better positioned for the Orange Bowl. The Orange Bowl matches an ACC team against the highest-ranked Big Ten or SEC team that’s outside of the four-team playoff. 

Q: Is there a pecking order to the Peach/Fiesta/Cotton Bowls in terms of prestige? What are the chances Mizzou faces a Big Ten or Pac 12 team they rarely have faced? — @DylanJames_77

A: There is no definitive difference in prestige between those three New Year’s Six bowl games. I’ve always said the beauty of a bowl game is in the eye of the beholder. If you prefer a game in the hottest hotbed for alumni, then Cotton is ahead of the others. If you prefer a game on January 1 or somewhere warmer, then Fiesta is your preference. If you’d rather play in the SEC footprint, Peach is your place.  

As for your second question, there are only six Power Five teams Mizzou has never played in football — and one of them is a potential bowl opponent. The Washington Huskies. UW would likely have to lose Friday’s Pac-12 championship game to fall out of the four-team playoff. Who are the other Power Five teams the Tigers have never played? Sounds like a great Tiger Trivia question.

Q: Does Mizzou have any control over any part of this process? — @NimmonsBrandon

Q: How much say do teams have in where they go, if any? Does anyone at either school know in advance? — @jd_sansone

A: Short answer to both questions: Nope. The College Football Playoff Committee decides the bowl pairings for the New Year’s Six games. They may loop the bowls into the discussions, but it is solely up to the CFP committee to set the matchups. This is very different from how the Southeastern Conference assigns the SEC Group of Six bowls: Duke’s Mayo, Gator, Liberty, Music City, Outback and Texas. For those six games, the schools submit their preferences and the bowls have some input, but ultimately the conference decides who plays where in those games. CFP games are decided by the CFP committee.

Q: Do bowls prioritize conference allegiance or team quality when picking? Are there some bowls that Mizzou has no chance at participating? — @andrew__sampson

A: For this year’s non-semifinal New Year’s Six bowls (Cotton/Fiesta/Orange/Peach), the only conference tie-ins come with the Orange Bowl. One participant must be from the ACC: the highest-ranked at-large ACC team. If Florida State makes the four-team playoff, then Louisville — or perhaps North Carolina State? — would fill one spot in the Orange Bowl. If Florida State doesn’t make the four-team playoff but is still the highest-ranked ACC team, then the Noles play in the Orange Bowl. The opponent must be the highest-ranked at-large team from the Big Ten, SEC or Notre Dame. That would almost certainly be Ohio State, currently No. 6 in the CFP rankings.

As for the other non-playoff NY6 bowls, they don’t have contractual obligations to take teams from certain conferences, but would the Peach Bowl prefer a team from the SEC footprint? Would the Fiesta Bowl prefer one of the Pac-12 teams? Is a Midwest team more appealing to the Cotton Bowl? We’ll find out Sunday.

Get ahead of the game and request your bowl tickets now.

More Mizzou Multimedia!

Watch this week’s Football movie from the win at Arkansas: 

Watch this week’s Men’s Basketball movie from the win at Pitt:

Listen to the season’s first episode of Men’s Basketball Tiger Talk with coach Dennis Gates and Sean East II:

IFrameLet it rip!

One of the best images of this past week in our Black and Gold universe: On Wednesday, a crowd of Mizzou Athletics staffers and student-athletes lined up outside Hearnes Center to greet the volleyball team as they climbed onto their bus bound for Lincoln, Nebraska. First-year coach Dawn Sullivan, architect of her program’s remarkable one-year turnaround, was stopped in her tracks and embraced by someone who knows something about one-year turnarounds. “Let’s go, Coach! LET’S GO!” Dennis Gates shouted as he wrapped his arms around the newly named SEC coach of the year.

Here’s one thing we’ve learned from Coach Gates and Coach Sullivan in their sudden bursts of success at Mizzou: It’s OK to set high expectations in Year 1.

A year ago this month, Sullivan inherited a Mizzou program that won only 14 games the two previous seasons combined. Volleyball is the only Mizzou athletics program to win an SEC team championship — and they’ve won two! The pedigree is there. The standards, too. They just needed a hard reset.

“You know, for me, it’s always important for us to just establish the culture,” she told me this week. “What are we going to be about? How do we show up every single day? This group can take things and run with them really fast. So I feel really thankful that this group is just gonna grab a hold of it, be very vulnerable with each other and share. We are able to establish that culture very fast. For me, I want to jump. Always. I want to jump from wherever I was to the middle. This conference is a tough conference. And as soon as you get to that middle pack, you’re putting yourself in contention to go to the NCAAs. So, yes, I will say this is very, very much what we wanted to do, what we set out to do. I’m very thankful we were able to achieve that. But even more so that we were able to continue to keep the culture and this foundation really strong of who we’re about.

“We’re about people always. How can I serve their hearts? And as you do that, and as you get to know them and relationships are built, then you can win some championships.”

For the first time in three years, Mizzou is back in the NCAA Volleyball Tournament, with the first serve set for 4:30 p.m. Friday against Delaware in Lincoln. The winner advances to almost certainly face powerhouse Nebraska, one of the bracket’s No. 1 seeds. Tough draw? Nah. It’s an incredible opportunity — and a chance to showcase the program for the next class of future Tigers. The sport’s popularity and visibility is at an all-time high. And for at least one chance, maybe more, Mizzou is on the sport’s big stage this weekend.

“This team, they are about loving the game. They’re about family. And they’re about grit,” Sullivan said. “And I think they do that to a high, high level. We represent the state of Missouri. And when we do that, when we walk in the gym every day, we’re gonna let it rip.”

See more from our interview here.

Tiger Trivia

Find answers at the end of today’s newsletter.

1. Did you think we’d forget? Other than Washington, Mizzou has never played a football game against five other current Power Five programs. Who are they?

2. Mizzou volleyball made its first NCAA Tournament in 2000. How many NCAA Tournament matches have the Tigers won in their history?

3. Mizzou men’s basketball already has two road wins on the home floor of high-major opponents, at Minnesota and at Pittsburgh. When’s the last time the program won two nonconference true road games (on an opponent’s home floor) against high-major programs?

Matter’s Weekly Power Rankings

Each week we’ll highlight the Best of Mizzou with a different theme. This week: The five best Cody Schrader games of 2023.

1. Tennessee: It was a historic night for “The Shredder,” who became the first player in SEC history to surpass 200 rushing yards (205) and 100 receiving yards (116). Cody’s production in the passing game was an outlier: It was the first time all season he had more than 15 receiving yards.

23 FB - Schrader At Arkansas

2. Arkansas: What could have been? Schrader had nearly all of his 217 yards in the first half with a great chance to eclipse Devin West’s single-game record (319) with more touches in the second half. Heck, the SEC single-game rushing record (321) was in the crosshairs, too. But he had a nice, safe view of the second half from the sideline.

3. Georgia. Cody is still the only running back in three seasons to rush for 100 yards against the Bulldogs, going for 112 yards and a touchdown.

4. LSU. Only 13 carries, but he made the most of them with 114 yards (8.8 per carry) and three visits to the end zone.

5. Memphis: Yes, he had a potentially costly fumble, but Schrader redeemed himself with a late touchdown rumble that put the game out of reach. Another highly efficient game: 123 yards on just 14 carries. That’s another 8.8 yards per carry.

Speaking of Schrader, the Burlsworth Trophy winner will be announced Monday. He’s one of three finalists. He’ll also be in St. Louis on Tuesday for the Jack Buck Sports Awards, where he will receive the Carl O. Bauer Award, given to the top amateur sports figure. In the award’s 45-year history, only five Mizzou student-athletes have received the honor: Kellen Winslow, Phil Bradley, Brad Smith, Chase Daniel and Markus Golden. The Doak Walker Award (Schrader) and Butkus Award (Ty’Ron Hopper) will be announced during next Friday’s ESPN awards show.

Looking Ahead

Friday, Dec. 1

Volleyball vs. Delaware, NCAA Tournament, 4:30 p.m., ESPN+ (Lincoln, Nebraska)

Wrestling vs. Oklahoma, 7 p.m., Flo Wrestling

Men’s & Women’s Swimming and Diving at International CAMO Invitational (Montreal, Canada)

Men’s & Women’s Swimming and Diving, at USA Diving Winter Nationals (Knoxville, Tennessee)

Saturday, Dec. 

Volleyball at NCAA Tournament, TBA (Lincoln, Nebraska)

Wrestling at Cougar Clash, (Edwardsville, Illinois)

Women’s Basketball vs. SEMO, 2 p.m., SEC Network+

Men’s & Women’s Swimming and Diving at International CAMO Invitational (Montreal, Canada)

Men’s & Women’s Swimming and Diving, at USA Diving Winter Nationals (Knoxville, Tennessee)

Men’s & Women’s Swimming and Diving at Missouri State, 10 a.m. (Springfield, Missouri)

Sunday, Dec. 3

Men’s Basketball vs. Wichita State, 2 p.m., ESPN2

Men’s & Women’s Swimming and Diving, at USA Diving Winter Nationals (Knoxville, Tennessee)

Monday, Dec. 4

Men’s & Women’s Swimming and Diving, at USA Diving Winter Nationals (Knoxville, Tennessee)

Tuesday, Dec. 5

Men’s & Women’s Swimming and Diving, at USA Diving Winter Nationals (Knoxville, Tennessee)

Wednesday, Dec. 6

Women’s Basketball vs. Missouri State, 6 p.m., SEC Network

Men’s & Women’s Swimming and Diving, at USA Diving Winter Nationals (Knoxville, Tennessee)

Friday, Dec. 8

Wrestling vs. Wyoming, 7 p.m. Flo Wrestling

Links to Click

Fans can learn more about Men’s Basketball tickets here and Women’s Basketball tickets here.

For all the latest information on Mizzou Athletics, please visit For up-to-the-minute updates, follow the Tigers on XInstagram and Facebook

Tiger Trivia

1. Mizzou Football has not played Cincinnati, Florida State, North Carolina State, Virginia Tech, Rutgers or Washington.

2. Mizzou Volleyball has appeared in 17 NCAA Tournaments, going 17-17 overall with Sweet 16 appearances in 2005, 2010, 2016 and 2017.

3. It’s been a long time. During the 1991-92 season, Norm Stewart‘s Tigers beat No. 11 Arkansas in Fayetteville and later beat Oregon in Eugene. (Big assist to to men’s hoops SID Jason Veniskey for help with this research.)

This article is provided by University of Missouri Athletics