Pinkel quickly focuses Tigers on the challenge at hand

Like he has so many times in his coaching career, Mizzou coach Gary

Pinkel thought first of what his mentor, the late Don James, would do

upon winning the SEC East title Saturday night.

And that would be

to get his players to refocus as quickly as possible for the next

challenge, the SEC championship game against No. 3 Auburn on

Saturday in Atlanta.

Which is what Pinkel did Saturday night after the Tigers’ 28-21 win over Texas A&M at sold-out Memorial Stadium.

is awesome,” Pinkel said. “This is great. The most important thing, I

know Coach James would say right now, he’d say, ‘Get the guys back fast.

Get their heads back fast.’

“Honestly, I’m so happy and so

excited for my players and team. (But) we have to clip this thing. I’ve

already talked to some of the players. We have to flip it. (Associate

athletic director–athletic performance Pat) Ivey told them, he reminded

all of the guys that played in the game they have to lift (Sunday) at

11 o’clock in the morning. He got booed.”
The Tigers (11-1) know all about SEC West champion Auburn (11-1).

were able to watch as the other Tigers rallied to beat Georgia 43-38

two weeks earlier on a desperation 73-yard touchdown pass with 25

seconds remaining. A Georgia win in that game would have helped Mizzou

clinch the SEC East spot in the conference title game.

Missouri team was not aware, however, before its game against the Aggies

that Auburn had knocked off No. 1 Alabama 34-28 with a 109-yard return

touchdown as time expired. That happened just minutes before kickoff at

Faurot Field.
Pinkel’s son, Geoff, told him about Auburn’s dramatic finish after Mizzou beat Texas A&M.

been making some great plays, huh? Hopefully, they quit making them,”

Pinkel said. “Obviously, they’ve done a great job. They are a good

football team. We’re just excited about representing the East and going

to Atlanta.

“They keep getting bigger. I keep telling my

players, ‘Your focus has to get better because every week it gets a

little bit bigger.’ Our challenge is to get ready for a great, great

running football team and a good defensive team we’re going to play.”

Tigers stayed put at No. 5 when the BCS standings were released Sunday

night, though each of the four teams ahead of them moved.

State moved up to No. 1. Ohio State went from third to second. Auburn,

with its win over Alabama, jumped one spot from fourth to third. Alabama

fell from the top spot to No. 4.
Missouri stayed at No. 5 in

the Associated Press Top 25 and moved up one spot, from sixth to fifth,

in the USA Today Coaches Poll and the Harris Poll.  
The impact

of these BCS standings for the Tigers is limited. Missouri would likely

jump over Alabama and Auburn if it can beat Auburn in the SEC

championship game and then needs either Florida State or Ohio State to

lose in their conference title games to have a shot at the BCS

championship game.
You can certainly make a case that the SEC

title game winner deserves one of the spots in the BCS title game, but

that’s an argument for another time.

SEC announced Monday morning that cornerback E.J. Gaines had been

selected as the league’s Co-Defensive Player of the Week for his

performance against Texas A&M.
Gaines recorded six tackles and limited Aggies standout wide receiver Mike Evans to four catches for a career-low 8 yards.

6-foot-5, 225-pound Evans entered the game with 61 catches and an

SEC-leading 1,314 yards receiving and 12 touchdown receptions. He had 82

catches for 1,105 yards and five touchdowns last season.
In 24 previous games, Evans never had less than 40 receiving yards.
The bad news …

end prospect Jhonny Williams, from Berrien Springs, Mich., decommitted

from Missouri late week and instead committed to Notre Dame.

recruitment has been interesting. He committed to Toledo in late June,

then committed to Mizzou in late September and now committed to Notre

Dame in late November.
The good news …
The Tigers had a

key visitor Saturday night in Brian Wallace, a highly touted senior

offensive tackle from CBC in suburban St. Louis.
The 6-6,

300-pounder had previously made an official visit to Iowa and is

planning to take trips to Alabama and Arkansas before making his

decision. He is expected to announce his choice at the U.S. Army

All-American Bowl in San Antonio on Jan. 4.
Wallace is ranked by as the 18th-best offensive tackle prospect and the 233rd-best

overall prospect in the senior class.

Wayne Kreklow’s Southeastern Conference champion volleyball team, which

is ranked fourth nationally, finished off its regular season perfect

last week at 34-0 overall and 18-0 in SEC play.
On Monday,

several Tigers were honored when the league’s postseason awards, which

are voted on by the league’s coaches, were announced.
Senior setter Molly Kreklow was named the SEC Player of the Year.
Wayne Kreklow was tabbed as the Coach of the Year.
Carly Kan was voted the SEC Freshman of the Year.
Molly Kreklow, Kan and teammates Lisa Henning and Whitney Little were honored as All-SEC Team selections.
The NCAA tournament field was announced Sunday night.

which is in the tourney for the 11th time in the past 14 seasons, was

selected as the No. 4 overall seed and will host the first and second

rounds of the tournament at the Hearnes Center this Friday and Saturday.

Tigers will play IUPUI (19-13) in the first round, with Purdue (20-11)

and Central Arkansas (27-3) meeting in the other first-round matchup.
If Missouri advances to the Regionals, it will play at the University of Illinois.

From Mizzou senior linebacker Donovan Bonner:

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