October 8, 2012

First Look Notebook



Missouri will face the nation's No. 1 team when Alabama comes to Columbia on Saturday afternoon. It will mark the 13th time in school history the Tigers have faced the nation's top-ranked team in the polls. Here are the results of the previous twelve:

2011: Lost 38-28 at Oklahoma
2008: Lost 56-31 at Texas
2003: Lost 34-13 at Oklahoma
2000: Lost 42-24 at Nebraska
1998: Lost 35-14 at Ohio State
1997: Lost 45-38 to Nebraska
1988: Lost 55-0 at Miami (FL)
1987: Lost 17-13 at Oklahoma
1983: Lost 34-13 to Nebraska
1978: Lost 45-23 at Oklahoma
1978: Lost 38-20 to Alabama
1971: Lost 36-0 to Nebraska

All told, the Tigers are 0-12 against top-ranked teams. In 2010, Mizzou faced Oklahoma and the Sooners were the top-ranked team in the BCS Standings, but were third in both major polls.



At home, Mizzou is 0-4 against the nation's top team; on the road, the Tigers are 0-8. Under Gary Pinkel, the Tigers are 0-3 against number one, with all three of those games coming on the road. Missouri is 0-5 against the nation's best when hey are ranked (never above 11th) and 0-7 as an unranked team.


The only time Missouri faced Alabama when the Crimson Tide was No. 1 came in 1978, which is also the only season in which Missouri has faced the nation's top-ranked team twice.

Renewing Acquaintances


Pinkel and Alabama coach Nick Saban were college teammates back at Kent State in the early 1970's under head coach Don James. We wrote about that relationship at SEC Media Days in July and you can read that story here.

Pinkel has often credited Saban for helping him get the Toledo job, his first head coaching job.

"He calls me up and says, 'Listen, I'm leaving here, I can get you an interview, are you interested in the job?'" Pinkel recalled. "I said yeah and that gave me an opportunity."

Saban is 151-54-1 as a head coach at Toledo, Michigan State, LSU and Alabama. He is 60-12 in his sixth season in Tuscaloosa. Pinkel is 162-93-3, including an 88-57 mark in his 12th year at Mizzou. Pinkel and Saban have never coached against each other.

Testing the Depth



Pinkel said after the loss to Vanderbilt that both James Franklin and Mitch Morse had suffered sprained MCL injuries and would miss the Alabama game. He said Franklin would be out "a few weeks."

Corbin Berkstresser will get his second career start against the Tide. He was 21-41 for 198 yards in a 24-20 win over Arizona State earlier this year. Against Vandy, he went just 9-30 for 189 yards after relieving Franklin. He ran for a touchdown against Arizona State and threw one against Vanderbilt.



With Morse out, Brad McNulty will get the start at center. Elvis Fisher is banged up, but did play at left tackle against the Commodores with Justin Britt moving back to right tackle. Jack Meiners played a little bit against Vandy at right guard, but Max Copeland got most of the reps. True freshman Evan Boehm should make his seventh consecutive start at left guard.

Marcus Murphy left Saturday's game with a dislocated ring finger on his right hand and Will Ebner sat out after aggravating a hamstring injury. The status of both will not be known until Monday afternoon media day. At that time, an update should also be available on wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, who was suspended for the Vandy game after a mid-week arrest, but is expected to be back this weekend.

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