Schuckman: Mizzou will play for national championship someday, right?

Missouri Tigers quarterback Brady Cook (12) during pregame before the game between the Missouri Tigers game against the LSU Tigers in Columbia, MO on October 7, 2023.  Mathew Kirby

Mizzou quarterback Brady Cook, who led the Tigers to an 11-2 season, brings the team out of the locker room prior to an October game against LSU at Faurot Field in Columbia, Mo. | Mathew Kirby photo

QUINCY — Someday, right?

That’s what I keep telling myself.

Following Michigan’s victory in Monday night’s national championship game, several colleagues and friends who are devout Wolverines fans took to social media to celebrate. It had been 27 years since Michigan, the winningest program in college football history, had captured a crown.

So jump, shout, scream and celebrate all you want.

It’s exactly what those of us who root for teams that have never won a national title wish we could do.

Someday that’s going to happen, right?

For nearly four decades, I’ve been saying that. Other University of Missouri fans have carried that hope much longer. All too often, football season begins the way it ends — without a chance of seeing the Tigers play for a championship.

That hasn’t always been the case, but the teams capable of winning a title have been few and far between. But there have a been a few on the cusp of title talk.

In 1960, the Tigers went 10-1, won the Orange Bowl against Navy and Heisman Trophy winner Joe Bellino and finished fifth in the final rankings. A regular-season loss to Kansas, which the Jayhawks ultimately forfeited for use of an ineligible player, derailed the title hopes.

In 2007, the Tigers were the No. 1 ranked team in the BCS before a loss to Oklahoma in the Big 12 Conference championship game. Mizzou finished 12-2 and ranked fourth in the final AP poll in what could be argued is the best season in program history.

In 2013, a 12-2 season that included being the SEC East Division champions led to the Tigers finishing No. 5 in the AP poll and No. 8 in the BCS rankings.

A decade later, the Tigers find themselves in the conversation again.

When the final AP poll of the 2023 season was released Tuesday morning, the Tigers were eighth on the heels of an 11-2 record and a Cotton Bowl victory over Ohio State. With a vast majority of its roster expected to return — in the world of the transfer portal, that could change in a heartbeat — Mizzou could be in the mix again next season.

At least there’s hope of being a national contender and playing in a meaningful game in January.

Someday, right?

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