November 25, 2007

Tiger Notebook: Top-ranked Tigers

KANSAS CITY, MO--Missouri's win over Kansas on Saturday night meant many things. But the one topic of discussion after the game was how it meant the Tigers were likely to ascend to the top of the national rankings. That's right. Missouri Tigers…no, make that, the top-ranked Tigers.

"I don't care if they can believe it or not," Lorenzo Williams said. "I believe it."

Mizzou came into the game ranked #3 in both major polls (they were tied with West Virginia in the coaches' poll). They were fourth in the BCS. LSU and Oklahoma were the top two teams. Both lost. West Virginia beat Connecticut 66-21, but the Mountaineers seem likely to fall victim to the computers after beating a lesser opponent than the Tigers, just as Missouri did when it was leapfrogged by that same West Virginia team a week ago.

"I just knew we had a chance," Williams said. "LSU losing was big, they said whoever wins this game was going to be number one. We didn't really think of that before the game, it was really after the game."

The Tigers might not be all that caught up in the ranking, but they know about it. And they think they deserve it.

"I think so," Martin Rucker said. "We beat the only undefeated team in the nation, so I think we deserve it."

"Kick back and like that," William Moore said. "That's good. That's something you dream of as kids."

Dream come true or not, the coach is doing his best to deflect the talk.

"It's exciting," Gary Pinkel said. "I don't know what you want me to do. Do you want me to do a backflip? I can't do that."

Seeing the Tigers at No. 1 will shock many across the country. But it doesn't shock a senior class that Pinkel has said over and over came to Missouri when the coaching staff had nothing to sell as far as on-field success.

"From the beginning," Tony Temple said when asked how long ago he saw the possibilities for this team. "You can go back to the summer. We had our eye on the prize from the beginning."

"When we got here," Rucker added. "We didn't know how long it was going to take. We said, it didn't matter how long it was going to take, our senior year, we weren't going to go out like the rest of the classes did. We were going to be the guys to get it done."

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