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Tuesday, December 29, 2009
What would Big 12 do without Missouri?

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Texas A&M's loss to Georgia in the Advocare V100 Independence Bowl continued a disturbing trend for Big 12 teams in bowl games against rivals from the Southeastern Conference.

The Aggies' 44-20 loss Monday night pushes the Southeastern Conference's advantage in head-to-head bowl games against the Big 12 to 10-3 since 2003.

And as Chad Moeller, the fine media relations director at Missouri reminded me on Monday night, two of those victories came from Missouri.

The Tigers rallied from an early three-touchdown deficit to claim a 38-31 victory over South Carolina in the 2005 Independence Bowl. And they followed that up with one of the most impressive Big 12 bowl outings in memory with a decisive 38-7 beatdown of Arkansas in the 2008 Cotton Bowl.

Southeastern Conference teams have struggled against Missouri's combination of a running game and a passing game in those two bowl outings. It helped the Tigers post two impressive triumphs and keep the Big 12's record afloat -- albeit barely -- in bowl games against the Southeastern Conference.

The Big 12's only other triumph over the SEC came when Oklahoma State rallied for a 34-31 victory over Alabama in the 2006 Independence Bowl.

Georgia's impressive victory over the Aggies means that the Big 12 must sweep the two remaining games against the SEC in the bowl games to claim a mythical victory over the rival conference. The last time the Big 12 posted a winning bowl record over the SEC came in 1997.

To do that this season, Oklahoma State must upset Mississippi in the AT&T Cotton Bowl on Saturday and Texas must stun top-ranked Alabama in the Citi BCS National Championship Game.

Getting that sweep might be a tall order for the Big 12. But Big 12 coaches might consider asking Missouri coach Gary Pinkel for any secrets of success against the SEC.