Missouri, Georgia both amped to play historical SEC opener

COLUMBIA, MO. – People here are calling Saturday night’s Georgia-Missouri game the most anticipated game in the history of Mizzou football.

That’s significant considering the Tigers have played some pretty big games.

  • They’re still talking about the 1960 game against Kansas at Arrowhead Stadium in which No. 1 Missouri lost to the Jayhawks 23-7 (Kansas later had to forfeit for using an ineligible player).
  • In 2003, the Tigers beat Nebraska for the first time since 1978.
  • Mizzou also beat Kansas here in 2007 to become the No. 1-ranked team.
  • Just two years ago, ESPN’s “GameDay” was on hand when it upset No. 1-ranked Oklahoma 36-27 at Faurot Field.

But none of those games, the locals contend, created more buzz than the buildup there has been for tonight’s game. Missouri (1-0) plays host to the No. 7 Bulldogs (1-0) in its first game as a member of the SEC. The Tigers have belonged to the Big 12 — or its previous incarnations of the Big Eight and Big Six — since 1907.

So it’s, it’s …

“Huge!” said Chad Nicolet, a Missouri fan from Alton, Ill. Nicolet was beginning his “preparations” for the game early Friday afternoon with a beer in the Campus Bar and Grill on South 9th Street, along with his friends Josh Lynch and Arianna Lynch.

“It’s the historical significance, first of all, of coming into the SEC,” he explained. “It’s the No. 7 team in the country coming in. It’s the college football atmosphere. Honestly, what I want to know is why ‘GameDay’ is in College Station [Texas] and not here? You don’t get any bigger than this.”

Into the middle of this madness stroll the Bulldogs. For the first time since 1991, they’re playing somebody other than South Carolina in the conference opener. That they’re doing it against a frothing team and fan base is not ideal.

“It’s not the best draw, but it is what it is,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “You’ve got to play them sooner or later, and you’ve got to play somebody first. I think no matter who you play first, it’s a game that means so much. Because it’s an Eastern Division game, it does mean a little bit more. All those things are important. It’s on the schedule. Let’s play it.”

That it happens to be a game with historical implications against a new conference member is, to them, trivial. Georgia comes in as the top-10 team, as the consensus pick to repeat as SEC East champions and as 2 1/2-point favorites. In short, the Bulldogs have a lot to lose.

“It’s unprecedented; we know that,” Georgia linebacker Christian Robinson said. “But we’re really trying to focus on going in there and treating it like any SEC game. We want to win this one so we can move on.”

The atmosphere promises to be intense. Under Gary Pinkel, “The Zou” has become known as a tough place to play. The Tigers have won two of their past three at home against ranked teams, beating No. 1 Oklahoma in 2010, while splitting with No. 6 Oklahoma State (loss) and No. 21 Texas (win) last year.

This one is just as tough a ticket. Missouri fans spoke of buying seats for $150 to $500.

“Our fans have been talking about it since March,” Pinkel said. “It’s huge. That place is going to be wild. All of that is great.”

Georgia fans think it’s great, too. Traditionally one of the better traveling teams in the SEC, the Bulldog Nation was in Missouri en force. UGA distributed 6,000 tickets to season-ticker holders, but thousands more have traveled here.

Columbia is located in the center of the state and has a small airport. So the majority of Georgia’s fans flew into St. Louis 100 miles to the east. Many others were coming in by way of Kansas City, Mo., 125 miles to the west. Hotel space is limited in Columbia, so many others were staying 30 miles south in the state capital, Jefferson City.

But all were making a best of it. Atlanta’s Brian Hoyt and four friends flew into St. Louis with plans to attend the Cardinals-Brewers game Friday night, Georgia-Missouri on Saturday and the Falcons-Chiefs on Sunday in Kansas City.

“It’s the ultimate guys’ trip,” Hoyt said. “It’s one of those things that went from from being a joke to, ‘No, let’s do this.’”

Some people made the long drive — Columbia is about 700 miles from Atlanta and a solid 12-hour ride. Most didn’t.

Dave Smith of Milledgeville usually drives his full-size RV to all of Georgia’s away games. But he, his wife and two friends from Dublin came by plane instead.

“It was just too far,” said Smith, eating pizza and drinking beer at the well-known local haunt, Shakespeare’s Pizza. “It’d take us two days to get out here and two days to get back. But we didn’t want to miss it. The significance of the game is huge. Probably bigger for them than for us.”

168 comments Add your comment

dawggirl

September 8th, 2012
12:20 am

My boyfriend thinks I’m crazy for being nervous, but I am. Go Dawgs!

Columbus

September 8th, 2012
12:48 am

Go Dawgs dawggirl

Columbus

September 8th, 2012
12:49 am

Excuse me…….I meant GO DAWGS DAWGGIRL!!!

Jem

September 8th, 2012
12:53 am

The KU-Mizzou game to become #1 in the nation was at Arrowhead. do some research.

P-Man

September 8th, 2012
12:54 am

Should be a fun game! Looking forward to the defense being a little more solid, and the offense being more consistent.

Class of '98

September 8th, 2012
1:20 am

Let’s show ‘em what old-man, old-school, smash-mouth football is all about, Dawgs.

SIC EM

dbc

September 8th, 2012
1:59 am

Well nothing more to be said. If the talent that UGA has shows up and executes, UGA win. If past UGA teams show up, Mizzou win. Not much else to say. We’ll know in about 24.

Tampa Nugget

September 8th, 2012
2:32 am

Dawgs opened 1992 season vs Tennessee.

yellow

September 8th, 2012
3:32 am

final Missou 28 woofers 24 the whole bulldawg nation will be talking of the season that should have been just like us. go jackets

DirtyDawg

September 8th, 2012
3:32 am

I hope to hell we’re not going to ‘play the perfect foil’ for these guys the way the Falcons did for the Saints back when we played them in the first game in the Super Dome following Katrina…no way the football Gods were gonna let the Falcons win that game. Fortunately this game isn’t like that kind of payback/reconciliation…I mean it’s just the first ever SEC game for them with their entire history and reputation on the line and everything…it’s not as if it’s life and death or something…it’s actually bigger than that. So let’s just leave there, and them, with the feeling of ‘what might have been’…GO YOU HAIRY DAWGS!

7576DAWG

September 8th, 2012
3:32 am

The way some fans are fretting they must think Robinson, Cornelius Washington, Geathers, Jenkins Arby Jones, Ramik Wilson, Ray Drew and Jarvis Jones are not going to help at all. Folks we have a lot of great defensive players who are going to play. My guess is we play both John Jenkins and Geathers at the same time and completely take away running up the middle. Franklin will have to go outside where both Jones will be waiting or blitzing from.If we turn Franklin inside I believe Jenkins and Geathers can handle it.

Maconbulldog

September 8th, 2012
3:49 am

What about Mizzou’s D???? No one is talking about the “powerful” D they play. Do they know how to play smash mouth football???

Larry

September 8th, 2012
6:04 am

Mornin’, folks!

I don’t think Mizzou’s style could be called smash-mouth. On occasion, however, it can be called hush-mouth.

Time will tell… Enjoy the game! :>)

Left Coast Dawg

September 8th, 2012
6:06 am

@7576 – ditto……I’ve been saying the same thing. We’re expected o have the next batch of talent waiting in the wings. If we want to be talked about like LSU and Bama then we need that talent from all these high ranked recruiting classes to step up and play.
Also, there is nothing about this game to keep me from thinking that our offense can’t put up another 40 points. Murray said it himself, he expects UGA to score 40-50 every week.

Go Dawgs!

Brett

September 8th, 2012
6:19 am

Good point DirtyDawg. If Mizzou does ‘pull an upset’, I’m pretty confident that we’d all be able to tell the difference between the Dawgs not showing up, ‘poor/questionable’ play calling on the coaching end, and the Football Gods (acting vicariously through the zebras) just handing the game to them.

I don’t think we’ll see ‘poor/questionable’ play calling from the UGA side. The UGA faithful (i.e. those with fat checkbooks) would see to that Richt and Co. would be dealt with (read as fired). The NCAA is probably pretty tired from dealing with Penn State, so I can’t imagine them wanting to deal with Mike Slive organizing a fixed game (2 games if you include Texas A&M)…and vice versa.

That just leaves us with hoping that the Dawgs show up…for the entire game…all four quarters (and OT if need be). Damn…I hate it when I have to hope for something instead of just knowing.

GO DAWGS!!!

RedandBlackDAWG

September 8th, 2012
6:37 am

Yellow. The bee’s can’t even score 24 points, so why not go to their blog and cheer for them. Your predictions are as bad as your team looked against VT. Maybe they could hire you as the QB, because hew throws using no brain and you predict at the same level.

RedandBlackDAWG

September 8th, 2012
6:41 am

Brett,
What fun would playing the game and watching it be, if you already knew how it was going to turn out. The DAWGS are a little short handed on defense, but they will still be good enough to go along with the offense and beat Missouri. Missouri is missing three linemen on offense, and their number one running back. It all evens out.

WalterEgo

September 8th, 2012
6:50 am

Here’s what I don’t get: Why don’t players manage players better? Ogletree, Rambo, many others at UGA may have cost their teamates a chance to go undefeated by repeatedly breaking team rules. They’ve done it often in the presence of other players. I remember being a teenage rock band member in an over 21 bar and we were told “drink and you can’t come back and play”. None of us drank. I remember thinking my bandmates would kick my ass if I was the one that “blew it” for the rest of us. I know Right is a softy, recruits a lot of questionable young men, Athens has no nonsense if not player-focused police, and UGA’s policies are restrictive (in part because Richt is a softy and players over the years took advantage of that giving the team consistent bad press), but I would like to hear players taking on some leadership here. The seniors themselves and/or richt should promote seniors to hand out the discipline. Something.

Mike Franklin

September 8th, 2012
6:55 am

“Missouri, Georgia both amped to play historical SEC opener”

‘Historical’???

Come on AJC! The word is ‘historic’! Didn’t you guys go to school???

Mike Franklin

September 8th, 2012
6:57 am

bubba4dawgs

September 8th, 2012
6:57 am

I’d like to see the DAWGS come out on the field with walking canes. That would really get in the heads of the fans as well as the zou tigers. It would also draw national attention to the stupid remark of Richardson and make him a laughing stock when the DAWGS stomp’um. Then without saying a word, pick up their canes and limp off the field with someone waving a flag that says “Welcome to the SEC”! GO DAWGS!!

Larry

September 8th, 2012
7:17 am

@Mike Franklin: Come on AJC! The word is ‘historic’! Didn’t you guys go to school???

Good point, Mike! Obviously, you are an educated and perceptive gentleman! :>)

Brett

September 8th, 2012
7:50 am

RedandBlackDAWG…I don’t ever say ‘I know the Dawgs will win’. I meant ‘know’ as in I’d rather ‘know the Dawgs will come out and bust their tails the entire game, win or lose’ than ‘hope they show up the entire game’. They’ve have a bad trend over the past several seasons of only playing a solid 1-2 quarters a game, which is absolutely infuriating.

PT

September 8th, 2012
7:58 am

I find it humbling to think that Missouri is a huge game for Georgia. Yes they have a pretty good team, but I wouldn’t consider them a top tier team. It’s been a long time since Georgia beat a good football team. I really can’t remember which team it was. Good luck Dawgs. Go and try to win some respect. That might be the reason Game Day chose another venue.

Bitter dawgs fan

September 8th, 2012
8:04 am

@ mike friggen spell poice—close your TRAILER DOOR—–Collage football all day looser, AJC RULES

———————–GO DAWGS——Will be a great game -

—-MASON will replace TURNOVER MURPHY—-HAHAHAHAHAH

Bitter dawgs fan

September 8th, 2012
8:06 am

—sorry —POLICE————Get a life

Sugar Hill Dawg

September 8th, 2012
8:14 am

PT – “Go and try to win some respect. That might be the reason Game Day chose another venue.”

I couldn’t agree more, but I think the A & M move from the Big 12 was a much bigger deal than Mizzou’s. Also, the State of Texas has a much bigger population than Missouri and Georgia combined – RATINGS!!!

JB

September 8th, 2012
8:21 am

This game will be on Bobo and the O. We will need points. We’ll need over 30. The D will do OK. but will need help.

ZinoDawg

September 8th, 2012
8:47 am

It will come down to turnovers and penalties for the Dawgs. Avoid those and Dawgs roll.

Now GATA!!!!!!

Dawns win 35-21

ZinoDawg

September 8th, 2012
8:48 am

Man I hate typing on this I pad!

Dawgs win 35-21!

zoli

September 8th, 2012
8:51 am

To those who didn’t travel to this game: Put it on your calendar one day. Going out last night in Columbia was very electric. Beautiful town (similar to Athens dt scene), beautiful girls, great people. Game day is here and its time to get our tailgate on. Go DAWGS!

MrT

September 8th, 2012
8:51 am

Anyone have any idea why AT&T UVerse is not listed as a provider for the WatchESPN iPhone/iPad App? Would be nice to be able to watch some of the other games on my iPad. I see that Verizon and Comcast are providers, just odd that AT&T Uverse would not be listed.

harold

September 8th, 2012
8:59 am

UGA IN CAKEWALK. MISSOURI IS NOT EVEN RANKED & DOES NOT HAVE NEAR THE TALENT UGA DOES.

IF UGA DOESN’T WIN THIS GAME IT IS THE HEAD COACHES FAULT.

Coming out party

September 8th, 2012
8:59 am

Could this be the game Grantham unleashes Jordan Jenkins and Josh Harvey Clemons?

JDWJIM

September 8th, 2012
9:07 am

“It’s the historical significance, first of all, coming into the SEC,” he explained. “It’s the No. 7 team in the country coming in. It’s the college football atmosphere. Honestly, what I want to know is why ‘GameDay’ is in College Station [Texas] and not here? You don’t get any bigger than this.”

Interesting question easy answer…ESPN does not like Georgia and we don’t like them. For reference see 2003.

Larry

September 8th, 2012
9:10 am

@PT:
“I find it humbling to think that Missouri is a huge game for Georgia. Yes they have a pretty good team, but I wouldn’t consider them a top tier team. It’s been a long time since Georgia beat a good football team. I really can’t remember which team it was. Good luck Dawgs. Go and try to win some respect. That might be the reason Game Day chose another venue.”

A game is a game — either a W or an L. This game counts no more and no less than your other SEC games. I’d say every game in a football season is huge, for both participants. “Top tier” is as “top tier” does. So, let’s see who’s who and what’s what on Sunday morning. (N.B.: If I were going to identify a bona fide “top tier” game, it would not be Gators vs. aTm.)

@zoli:
Glad you’re having a good time in Columbia, MO. You tell the home folks there I said “Be nice!” And, have a helluva good time at the rip-roarin’ game tonight! Safe trip home, brother!

Inlet Dawg

September 8th, 2012
9:20 am

Recent History tells me we lose this one,just go back and see how ill prepared we have been against “non-conference teams”Colorado screams at me here.

Cuz

September 8th, 2012
9:22 am

Gameday, thank you God.

SanDiegoJacket

September 8th, 2012
9:35 am

We’re here too. Got our TO HELL WITH GEORGIA shirts with Truman on it, got the beer, and we’re going to teach the MIZZOU fans how to hate Ugagers as much as we do!! It’s going to be a long, long trip home for the Ugagers. GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO TIGERS!!!!!!

ARdawg

September 8th, 2012
9:37 am

It’s a slow day competition wise so the espn heads are tying to hype both of the matchups as significant. They’re not. The Dawgs will welcome Mizzou into the conference with a thorough thumping. Fla should win but that game might be as close as billed but, not likely. Georgia rolls. Playing at Faugot field isn’t any louder or difficult than any other SEC stadium and the field is the exact same size. Ignore the hype, expect to win

GO DAWGS!!! gata

ARdawg

September 8th, 2012
9:39 am

Larry

You seem like a good guy and welcome to the blogs of ajc.

ARdawg

September 8th, 2012
9:40 am

CUZ!

Hey there old friend

gomdawg

September 8th, 2012
9:41 am

Dawgs 37- Mizz 17 GO DAWGS 2012 IS THE YEAR OF THE DAWGS JUNKYARD DEFENSE WILL SHOW UP TONIGHT . BEWARE THE DAWGS ARE COMING

Rabid Dawg'84

September 8th, 2012
9:53 am

Well said Walterego@6:50am, players and coaches need to be on each other about their associations. OK, Rambo said he didn’t smoke pot, but it got into his system. I think the Dawgs show out and win big. WHy doesn’t Murray get credit for stomping #20 Auburn 45-7? That was a big game. If a team is ranked and you kill them, they might fallout, DUH? That said, I was disappointed last week with the 4-5 overthrows for TDs. GO Dawgs!

Billy Joe Bobby

September 8th, 2012
9:54 am

I think it’s gonna be a close one. Georgia has more talent, but Mizzou has more motivation.

Larry

September 8th, 2012
9:57 am

ARdawg:

Thanks, pal! Glad to be here among some very good Georgia guys!

P.S.– Does AR- mean you are in Arkansas? I live in the Missouri Ozarks (although I’m sitting in a cabin on an island in a lake in Ontario for the summer) and have in times past canoed, visited old mines, and camped in the beautiful Arkansas Ozarks.

ARdawg

September 8th, 2012
10:05 am

Larry

That is what it meant but, now I am in OK not 30 minutes from the MO state line. I’m originally Bulldog born, bred and when I die, will be Bulldog dead. I considered going to the game, have you seen those ticket prices? Usually, I catch the games in these parts of 3-400 miles but geeze, crap seats are $200+

Mike Franklin

September 8th, 2012
10:09 am

Bitter dawgs fan – The AJC made Georgia (the state and the school) look more than a little silly by blundering so obviously with that headliner. More embarrassing is that another publication (in SC of all places!) had nearly the same headline and got it right. If you want to be bitter, aim it at those who just made Atlanta, the state of Georgia and our Dawgs look like grammar school drop outs.

beanster

September 8th, 2012
10:16 am

SanDiegoJacket
September 8th, 2012
9:35 am

We’re here too. Got our TO HELL WITH GEORGIA shirts with Truman on it, got the beer, and we’re going to teach the MIZZOU fans how to hate Ugagers as much as we do!! It’s going to be a long, long trip home for the Ugagers. GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO TIGERS!!!!!!
———————————————————————————————————————————————–

You’ll also be great at showing them how to be whiny beotch sore losers after they lose the game. You certainly have the most practice.

Mike Franklin

September 8th, 2012
10:23 am

Geez beanster, what’s with all the hatred???
In-state rivals? yes, of course. But hating your fellow Georgians because they whip your nappy butts every year? That’s just silly, lol.