In honor of coach Gary Pinkel coaching his final game in front of his home fans, I decided to put together a list of some obvious and some not-so-obvious moments that helped define the Pinkel era. Enjoy.
No. 10: 21-14 win Vs. Arkansas, Nov. 28, 2014
It was the game that introduced the Arkansas rivalry back to Columbia. It was the game that saw Missouri secure its second SEC East division title in as many years. The win against Arkansas was gritty, and sent the Tigers to Atlanta for the second year in a row.
No. 9: 36-12 win Vs. kansas, Oct. 26, 2002
It wasn’t just that Pinkel was able to secure a win against kansas when all else was going bad in the 2002 season, but after the big win against our traditional rival, the players went and tore down the goalpost by themselves. Amazing moment to have seen, and certainly one for Pinkel to remember.
No. 8: 41-31 win Vs. Oklahoma State, Jan. 3, 2014
In what was an exhibition of defensive skill from Kony Ealy, Shane Ray and Michael Sam, one of the truly amazing games of the 2013 bowl season was played at the Jerry dome in Texas. Ray has the highlight of his career in that game and quarterback James Franklin got to go out a winner. Pinkel scored a big W against a former Big 12 foe, adding to SEC credibility.
No. 7: Debut of Brad Smith, Aug. 31, 2002
Mizzou fans flat out didn’t see it coming. They might have heard the name Brad Smith on the radio or from a buddy who really follows the team, but absolutely no one saw a true freshman come out and have such success against the reigning co-Big Ten Champs. Smith came out with another level of competition, and brought a serious run threat to the Tiger offense. 2002 would go on to be a rough season overall, but it would build the Tigers off of the ground and in to general conversation.
No. 6: 36-27 win Vs. Oklahoma, Oct. 23, 2010
ESPN College Gameday rolled in to Columbia for the first time, only for their 9+ year attendance record to be surpassed by the 18,000 that showed up to support Mizzou on Homecoming. The crowd remains a record. As for the game, Aldon Smith had an epic interception, but it was a team effort that brought a win over the No. 1 ranked team in the BCS, undoubtedly one of the greatest moments ever for Pinkel.
No. 5: 38-7 win Vs. Arkansas, Jan. 1, 2008
Tony Temple might still be running at the old Cotton Bowl. There was no answer for Chase Daniel and the Tiger offense in one of the most historic games ever for Mizzou football. On the other side of the ball, Heisman Trophy winner Darren McFadden was rendered absolutely useless against the stout Tiger defense. Pinkel was at the helm of a team who looked really good, and it was all his doing, a crowning moment for him professionally.
No. 4: 28-21 win Vs. Texas A&M, Nov. 30, 2013
Pinkel had some impressive wins over Texas A&M in the Big 12, but who could have ever dreamed that his biggest win against the Aggies would come in the SEC? And to win the SEC East, no less? Well, reality took hold on a huge night for Tiger great Henry Josey, who ran for the winning touchdown in the fourth quarter. Texas A&M brought Johnny Football to town, but Mizzou won its first division title in the SEC, a moment for the books of Missouri history.
No. 3: 41-24 win Vs. Nebraska, Oct. 11, 2003
It was THE win that…finally happened. After a childhood of not knowing what victory over Nebraska was like, Pinkel did it. And don’t let one Nebraska fan or pro-Big 12 guy try to cheapen this and say, “Well it wasn’t against Nebraska when they were really good…” because that’s malarkey. Nebraska was a top-10 ranked team and had the nation’s No. 1 defense at the time, total “blackshirt” era. It may have been the single greatest win, but No. 3 on this Pinkel countdown.
No. 2: No. 1 BCS ranking into Final Week, Nov. 25, 2007
It’s territory that many fans probably never even dreamed Mizzou could be in. Going into the final week of play in the season, the Tigers were ranked as the No. 1 team in the country in the only poll that mattered. This wasn’t some sort of preseason off-shoot, this was as real as it got. Unfortunately, Mizzou couldn’t get it wrapped up against Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship Game. But the moment is one that is the product of tireless work from coach Pinkel.
No. 1: 36-28 win Vs. kansas, Nov 24, 2007
Organizers that put together the Border War Showdown had no idea that ESPN Gameday would end up featuring the event. They also had no idea that it would become arguably the greatest moment in Mizzou history. The Undefeated and nationally ranked jayhawks were in line to play for a conference championship and national championship. That was all ruined in one night, in one game by a team coached by Gary Pinkel. It only amounts to one of his wins on paper, but will account for many more for years to come. Without question, the greatest Mizzou moment in the Gary Pinkel era.
Follow Mizzou Report on Twitter