Before a question about Missouri’s bowl game was asked to head coach Eli Drinkwitz, he addressed one that the Tigers aren’t playing in: the Liberty Bowl against Kansas.
“I’ll open it up with anybody that wants to ask me great questions about reports from Twitter-verse that are related to a guy having a bowl projection,” Drinkwitz said.
Drinkwitz was referring to a report from national college football writer Brett McMurphy of the Action Network, who reported last week that Missouri did not want to play in the Liberty Bowl, which could have aligned them with rival Kansas.
The first question involved that topic, and the response focused on the bowl selection process… while taking a swipe at the Jayhawks.
“I realize that bowl selection process is different from conference to conference,” Drinkwitz said. “And if you haven’t been in a bowl game in 12-15 years, maybe that thing has changed for you, so maybe the way that’s done at other places is different.”
Kansas, which will play Arkansas in the Liberty Bowl, makes its first bowl appearance since 2008. Missouri is taking on Wake Forest in the Gasparilla Bowl on Dec. 23 in Tampa, Fla. The Tigers have been bowl eligible in Drinkwitz’s three years in Columbia.
SEC teams submit preferences to the conference office, which assigns schools to bowls.
“It’s based on a lot of different factors,” Drinkwitz said. “What’s best for our university, what’s best for our fan base, what’s best for our student-athletes. We don’t really factor anybody else in that.
“We take any bowl game they’ll give us. Whatever matchup they give us, they give us. … If I got to pick, I’d have picked the national championship. But that’s not how it works.”
Drinkwitz said the Gasparilla Bowl checked several boxes for Missouri like the location and the date. The Tigers preferred to play in a bowl game before Christmas.
Missouri and Kansas are scheduled to meet in a football game. A two-game series between the Border War rivals begins in 2025 in Columbia. The teams are set to play the next year in Lawrence. Those will be the first games between the teams since Mizzou departed the Big 12 for the SEC after the 2011 season. (Missouri and Kansas will play another two-game set in 2031 and 2032.)
But the rivalry felt current last week when the bowl-pairing speculation gained a life that perished on social media. Drinkwitz and the official Missouri Football site issued responses.
“All the Twitter hate and calling us out, and fans getting in an uproar, we’ll figure that out when the game is scheduled at Faurot Field, which I believe is Sept. 6, 2025,” Drinkwitz said. “We’ll see then. But until then, I can keep getting all the twitter hate people from Kansas want to put on there. Won’t faze me.
“We’ll see you all at Faurot Field. Buy your tickets early.”