Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

SEC Notebook; Tigers Hoping They Learned a Lesson

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

SEC Notebook; Tigers Hoping They Learned a Lesson

Article excerpt

Byline: Don Coble

The Missouri football team hopes the experience from last year's Southeastern Conference championship game will give it an edge when it plays Alabama on Saturday.

The question is: What kind of motivation can come from a 59-42 loss?

The Tigers lost to Auburn a year ago at the Georgia Dome. The victory propelled Auburn to the national championship game against Florida State, while Missouri fell out of the BCS bowl cycle to play Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl.

"It's a great environment to play football in," Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. "If you get a chance to play in the SEC Championship game as a player or coach you know it's a great venue. They understand how awesome of an experience it is."

Despite a current six-game winning streak, the Tigers (10-2) face a bigger challenge Saturday against the top-ranked Crimson Tide.

Pinkel knows it will take more than experiencing the moment to beat Alabama.

"Ultimately, though, it goes back to playing," he said.

LOSSES STING GEORGIA

Georgia expected to be one of the teams playing for a spot in the College Football Playoff, but three losses relegated the Bulldogs to the middle of the pack in the SEC and into a deep level of disappointment.

Heavily favored Georgia lost to South Carolina and Florida during the regular season, and then it closed with an overtime loss to rival Georgia Tech. National championship aspirations have been replaced with a lot a lot of soul-searching.

"It was a challenge, there is no doubt about it," Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "I thought we got better every week. I think that our players responded to our staff. I think our players responded when there was adversity in a positive way."

The Bulldogs lost starting tailback Todd Gurley for four games after he accepted money for autographs. Once he returned, he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

Georgia played the final month knowing it couldn't lose another SEC game. At the same time, it needed Missouri to lose one of its final three league games.

When Missouri clinched last Friday, the Bulldogs seemed to lose focus a day later against Georgia Tech. …

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