Through college football’s storied and colorful history, many historic rivalries have come, gone, and some still remain.
You have the rival games of today, such as Alabama-Auburn, Michigan-Ohio State, USC-Notre Dame, and of course my bias permits me to say my favorites, Oklahoma-Texas, and Oklahoma Oklahoma-State.
Unfortunately, most of the time due to conference realignment, some of these beloved rivalry games have been tossed by the wayside in hopes that perhaps they might be revisited once in a blue moon, whenever the stars, planets, and the teams’ non-conference schedules happen to align.
It was conference realignment that ended the long standing rivalry that might not be as talked about or as well known as the aforementioned games except by the two schools and their fans. However, it now appears that it will be conference realignment that will reignite the rivalry that was the game for the Tigers-Sooners Peace Pipe, between the Missouri Tigers and the Oklahoma Sooners.
Missouri and Oklahoma first played each other in football in 1902, and starting in 1910, they would play annually until 1995, with only a one-year interruption in 1918 due to World War I.
With the evolution of the Big 8 conference into the Big 12 conference that took place in 1995, the conference was split into 2 divisions. (with Missouri being placed in the northern division and Oklahoma in the southern) This would bring the annual rivalry game that lasted nearly a century to a screeching halt, and be replaced with a home and home series that only occurred every 3 years. This is how the rivalry would continue until Missouri packed their bags and headed to greener pastures in the SEC in 2011.
The last game of this rivalry that had lasted over a century was played on September 24, 2011, with an Oklahoma victory of 38-28 being the result. After that, Missouri would hand the peace pipe over to the Sooners and turn their backs on the Big 12 conference and their longstanding rivalry with the Oklahoma Sooners, in favor for membership in the vaunted South Eastern Conference.
While the last standings in 2011 were pretty heavily in favor of the Sooners as they claimed 67 of those victories (including a 77-0 absolute shellacking in 1986) , while Missouri only claimed 24, it is safe to say that no teams in the Big 12 (including big bad Oklahoma) ever marked Missouri as an easy win.
It was common knowledge and even became quite the joke that whenever a school would have to play the Tigers in their home stadium in Columbia Missouri, the Tigers would let the grass on their field grow up 5-6 inches, or water down the field the night before wreaking havoc with the opposing teams running game. This strategy was especially effective against the offenses of Oklahoma and Nebrask as both schools employ a run-heavy offensive attack with Oklahoma running the Wishbone and Nebraska running the Vere Option.
Throughout those years, there were some very memorable games.
During the 1986 season, Missouri went into Norman and got slapped around to the tune of 77-0.
Jamaal Holloway was the Sooners quarterback at the time, but he probably threw the ball about five times, for the Sooners running game gashed the Missouri defense for roughly a thousand yards that day.
In 2007, Missouri went into the Big 12 championship game ranked No. 1 in the country, but would come up short, and in a rematch in 2008 for the Big 12 championship game, OU won with a final score of 62-21.
During the 2010 season, ESPN’s College GameDay would travel to the site of that year’s Oklahoma-Missouri game. Not only would Missouri beat Oklahoma who was ranked No. 1 at the time, they would also set the on-campus attendance record for that game.
However, in July of 2012, the break up would become official, with Missouri moving to the SEC and Oklahoma staying put in the Big 12 where it would be the undisputed power house of the conference.
Could the Missouri-Oklahoma rivalry be revived?
Now, unless you have been living under a rock for the last few days, don’t follow college sports at all and stumbled upon this piece purely by clicking on the wrong headline, then you are probably aware of the potential and very likely move of Oklahoma and Texas out of the Big 12 and into the SEC. With that move, the rivalry shall return.
Missouri has certainly made a home for itself in the SEC and is typically respectable year in and year out since joining the conference. That being said it, has really not formed a rivalry with a school yet to match the century-long rivalry with Oklahoma.
There is a bit of noise surrounding a rivalry between the Tigers and the Arkansas Razorbacks known as the “battle line rivalry“, however, it is pretty one-sided. The teams have faced each other only 12 times, and Missouri has a firm advantage having emerged victorious 9 out of those 12 times.
It is worth mentioning however, that for the foreseeable future, these rivalry games will be played in our own Arrowhead Stadium.
While Missouri’s rivalry with Arkansas will grow in time and could turn out to be one of the SEC’s premiere rival games, it will be a blast from the past for the Tigers and their fans alike if Oklahoma moves into the neighborhood and the century-old rivalry that took a decade-long hiatus will finally return.