The Missouri Tigers will head south for the New Year.
Officials for the Texas Bowl confirmed in a statement released late Sunday afternoon that Missouri has accepted their bid and will face the Navy Midshipmen on Dec. 31 in Houston.
The game will be played at Reliant Stadium and televised on ESPN.
“We are thrilled to have Missouri in the 2009 Texas Bowl,” said John Huff, chairman of the Texas Bowl board of directors. “The Tigers are an exciting team with one of the most explosive offenses in the country. The contrast in styles between Missouri and Navy’s option attack will create one of the most compelling and entertaining bowl match-ups in the country.”
Missouri has won each of its two meetings with Navy, the last of which was a 21-14 victory in the 1961 Orange Bowl. The Tigers also toppled the Midshipmen 35-14 in 1948.
It was widely speculated that the Texas Bowl selection committee's decision came down to Missouri (8-4) and Iowa State (6-6), with the outcome dependent on which team would be selected for the Insight Bowl.
According to the Des Moines Register , Iowa State on Sunday was officially selected to participate in the Insight Bowl, played in Tempe, Ariz., against a Big Ten opponent, either Minnesota or Michigan State.
That left Missouri as an attractive choice for the Texas Bowl, which gets the last pick of bowl-eligible Big 12 teams.
Missouri finished the regular season with two more wins than Iowa State, including a 34-24 victory over the Cyclones on Nov. 21. However, the bowls are not contractually obligated to select teams based on record or head-to-head results.
After finishing off its fourth consecutive season of at least eight wins with a thrilling victory over Kansas on Nov. 28, it seemed a foregone conclusion that Missouri would, at worst, end up in Tempe to face a team from the Big Ten for the second season in a row.
Missouri defeated Northwestern in the Alamo Bowl in 2008.
Nonetheless, Insight Bowl officials seemed to be immediately more drawn to the Cyclones than the Tigers, citing anticipation of a large constituency of ISU fans making the trek to Arizona in support of a program that has experienced little success recently.
Iowa State clinched its first bowl berth since 2005 and posted only its fourth season of six or more wins since 2002.
Meanwhile, Missouri has recorded 38 wins over the last four seasons and will play in a bowl game for a school-record fifth season in a row.