I live in Columbia, Missouri and have for the past 8.5 years. We moved here for my wife's career. She's faculty at the University of Missouri (Mizzou) and I've worked there as well for the past 6.5 years. It's an alright place - Midwestern college town and all that. However, I have missed Ohio and Ohio State football ever since moving here.
People are dedicated to their Missouri Tigers, but they don't know much outside of Cardinals baseball. I often found myself in exchanges where it would turn out that I knew more about their football team than they did. I knew that Mizzou beat Woody Hayes in Columbus, but I never mentioned it. I knew that Ohio Stadium was well over 50% larger than Faurot Field when most MU fans thought their stadium sat over 80,000 instead of the 60-65,000 it seated at the time.
And the tailgating. I was warned that things got a little wild on football Saturdays. They had no idea what Lane Avenue is like from sunrise to sunset on game day in Columbus. Hell, they're still fighting here to get one street shut down for the games, but downtown businesses don't want it to scare away customers.
My first Mizzou game was witnessing Vince Young drop 63 on them. My dad and I walked out during the third quarter - something we would have never considered at OSU - in order to beat the crowd to Booches. (Google it.)
This is a fine place, but they have no idea what college football is all about.
I assumed after this last weekend that the town would be abuzz with possibility. Mizzou is on the cusp of their first conference championship in 44(!) years. Nope. That's not what I've heard all day on the local sports talk radio. Instead, they are bashing Ohio State. The story on the air is that the B1G is a crap conference and OSU has eked out wins all season long. Additionally, they are the Rodney Dangerfields of college football and deserve some respect.
Mizzou has had a nice season, but there are other things at play. For one, there is a lot of resentment over MU being shunned by the B1G TWICE. Most fans thinks this was a knock on the athletics, but anyone involved in academia realizes this might be an equal blow to research and academic standing.
The second thing is that Mizzou's success has proven the SEC's vulnerabilities. Here is a middling Big 12 team that has dominated the conference in just its second year. Honestly, last season was an aberration for the program. While they were not as good as they are this year, last year's squad was good enough to make a bowl, but injuries decimated their chances just to be competitive. Still, this year's success shows that the SEC isn't all that far ahead of every other conference.
What is really sad is that the fans have had a taste of success with a potential Mythical National Title within sight and they're already looking past this weekend. This happened in 2007 when they beat #1 Kansas(?) to claim the top spot heading into the Big 12 championship where Oklahoma destroyed them. I'm afraid that they'll miss the true success in possibly winning the SEC if they don't get a shot in Pasadena. Hell, the team might even look past this weekend's game and blow a shot at winning the conference.
Either way, there's a lot of trash talk being thrown OSU's way. Of course, they think Ohio State fans have no idea what's being said. No one challenges the assertions that Mizzou deserves a chance to win the national title. They believe Ohio State is and will always be overrated. They are certain that the 7-year title run of the SEC has magically made them indestructible by proxy. It's a lot of fun to watch.
What I'm thankful for is a community of Buckeye fans like the one at this site who have been through this all before. There's no need to get upset with the BCS. Win all your games and you don't have to worry.