Mizzou CV: Bowling Green Nightmare(s) in Hindsight at MU

Peter FleischerSenior Writer ISeptember 11, 2009

GAINESVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 5:  Head coach Urban Meyer of the University of Florida directs his players during warm-up prior to the game against the Charleston Southern Buccaneers at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 5, 2009 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

It wasn't so long ago that Mizzou students held their collective breath every time the fourth quarter rolled around, regardless of the score or opponent.

The fourth quarter represented "that time" again in Columbia: time for Gary Pinkel's team to blow another one.

Much has changed since the early years of Pinkel's regime, and with memories of Maclin streaking to the end zone or Coffman hurdling a defender, those nightmares have become a thing of the past. Missouri hasn't blown a big game in recent memory (the KU game in 2008 is debatable), and they certainly haven't lost to any mid-majors.

Will a blast from the not-so-fun past hit the Tigers on Saturday, when the Bowling Green Falcons come into town? The Falcons beat Mizzou twice, in 2001 and 2002, including a 51-28 stomping in Columbia in '02.

MU students don't think so.

With their last upset loss to Bowling Green coming in 2002 (the Falcons lead the series 3-1), no current Tigers have played in the series between these two teams, but as a former MAC coach, Gary Pinkel won't overlook his former conference foe.

Missouri students and players have a confident vibe heading into this game. After an impressive win against Illinois in St. Louis, Bowling Green should be an easier task. Mizzou is at home, and although Bowling Green has won many games against BCS conference foes, Missouri hasn't lost a non-conference game since 2005.

It's amazing to see how the culture of the Missouri football has changed in the last seven years. Missouri has gone from an average-at-best football school to a unit that has won as many games as most in the last two seasons aside from USC and Oklahoma.

Bowling Green has an experienced play caller in Tyler Sheehan, and a veteran corps of receivers, but I have to side with the optimists on this game. Some older MU fans are cautious, noting the Falcons' recent wins against major foes, but I think Illinois is more talented. Yeah, Ron Zook sucks as a coach, but the Tigers are at home, too.

Call me a youngster or a homer or both, but this new-age Missouri team is ready to roll. Expect a margin similar to the arch-rivalry game, even if Sheehan puts up a couple more points on the Tiger defense.