KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -Just one more win, that's all Missouri needed last season. Beat Oklahoma and the Tigers would play for their first national championship.
They couldn't pull it off. The Sooners pulled away in the second half and won the Big 12 championship, sending Missouri to the Cotton Bowl instead of the national title game.
Now, Missouri gets a rematch - with a chance to ruin Oklahoma's national championship hopes, no less.
``I don't think there's any question about it: Our guys are dying to win this game,'' Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said Friday.
Missouri entered last year's game ranked No. 1 in the BCS, on the cusp of playing in the national title game after winning the Big 12 North with an emotional 36-28 victory over rival Kansas the week before.
Oklahoma squashed Missouri's BCS hopes with stifling defense and a bruising running game, outscoring the Tigers 24-3 in the second half to win its second straight conference title. Ohio State and LSU ended up with the invites to the national championship.
ad Stadium, it'll be the Sooners (11-1, 7-1) chasing the BCS dream.
Oklahoma enters the game ranked No. 2 in the BCS - No. 4 in The Associated Press poll - after earning a spot in the conference title game by winning a three-way tiebreaker over Texas and Texas Tech in the Big 12 South. Texas beat the Sooners 45-35, but lost 39-33 to Texas Tech, a team Oklahoma beat 65-21.
That meant no head-to-head advantage, so the winner of the Big 12 South came down to the fifth tiebreaker: BCS rankings. Oklahoma leapfrogged Texas in this week's standings, finishing .0218 ahead of the Longhorns after being third the week before.
The shake-up gave the Sooners a clear shot to the BCS title game and stirred contentious debate across the country and in particular in Oklahoma and Texas, where fans took the argument to the sky, editorialized on banners being pulled by small planes.
All the talk has left the Sooners feeling a little slighted just for winning.
``It's probably a little bit of motivation,'' Sooners quarterback Sam Bradford said. ``I still think that we feel like we have to go out there and prove something to everyone, and prove to them that we do deserve to be in this game.''
Once they finally get on the field, the Sooners will be overwhelming favorites.
as on Oct. 11 with six consecutive wins, averaging 59.5 points. Oklahoma also has won its last six games against Missouri and is a 17-point favorite on Saturday.
You've got no chance, the Tigers are being told - and they kind of like it.
``You draw from that a little bit. You want to prove people wrong,'' Pinkel said. ``We've talked about that as a football team and if you're a competitor, that's added incentive for sure.''
For inspiration, the 19th-ranked Tigers (9-3, 5-3) can look to the 2003 Big 12 title game in Kansas City.
Oklahoma went in an overwhelming favorite against Kansas State, undefeated and a game away from playing for its second national championship in three years. Instead, the Sooners were routed 35-7 and went on to lose to LSU by 20 in the Sugar Bowl - a sequence Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops reminded his players of in practice this week.
``We've talked about it as a team, that game against Kansas State,'' Stoops said. ``A little history lesson.''
Oklahoma's chances this time will likely hinge on Bradford's health.
The sophomore tore ligaments in his non-throwing hand and will have surgery the day after the game. His hand heavily taped, Bradford had trouble taking snaps under center against Oklahoma State, but still threw for 370 yards and four touchdowns and made a whirling dive toward the end zone in a 61-41 win.
le wearing a brace in practice this week and doesn't expect the game plan to change, even with cold weather in the forecast.
The Tigers know exactly what to expect.
``Look at what he did in the second half; he had it all wrapped up and he was on fire,'' Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel said. ``I don't think it'll affect him too much at all.''

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