Missouri fans, you’re on the clock.  The 2010 Insight Bowl is now a referendum on you as college football fans.

“We need our fans there,” Gary Pinkel said. “It’s our job to consistently go to bowls and we’re doing it now.

“Mizzou fans, (I) challenge you.”

Some will balk at Pinkel’s bluntness.  But he’s right.

For three years now, Missouri fans have pouted (sometimes rightfully so) that the bowl system has screwed them, has sent them to less desirable games in less desirable destinations than they deserved.  Again, in 2007 and 2009, you were 100% right to feel that way.

However, sometimes, being right doesn’t matter.  My kids are right sometimes and I’m wrong and their teachers are wrong.  But guess what?  It doesn’t matter.  They’re the kid.  I’m the dad.  I win.  The teacher wins.  It’s life.  And as my dad told me over and over growing up, “Life ain’t fair.”

So, now, the Tigers are in a bowl at least one rung better than most thought they would get.  The Insight Bowl paired the Tigers up with Iowa, relegating Nebraska to a boring, unwanted rematch with Washington in the Holiday Bowl, a place the Husker Horde went just one year ago. 

Whether that came at the urging of the Big 12 as many believe, I can’t tell you with 100% certainty (though I have my hunches).  But the fact is, the Tigers are headed to Arizona to play a nationally televised game against a border program which has a lot to like.  Let me list a few of those things:

* Iowa was a top ten program.  The Hawkeyes have lost five games, but they were close games and only one loss was truly a bad one to a non-bowl bound team.

* The Hawkeyes have plenty of Missouri ties, mostly Adrian Clayborn and Marvin McNutt.  They recruit the Show-Me State, and in particular St. Louis, on a regular basis.

* Missouri backed out of a four-year series with Iowa a few years back because, as Pinkel said, “They’re good.  It didn’t make a lot of sense to me to play such a great football program.”  Since then, Hawkeye fans have hurled insults of all kinds at the Tiger faithful.

But all that pales in comparison to this simple fact:  If Missouri fans don’t show up for this one, they forfeit every single right to complain in the future.  And if they don’t show up for this one, if you think you’ve gotten screwed by the bowl system in the past, you flat out ain’t seen nothing yet.

I know it’s expensive.  I know it’s not the most convenient location in the world.  But you know what?  You want a top flight program.  It’s time to offer that program top-flight support.

Missouri is playing for a chance at 11 wins and a top ten ranking against a program that has said the Tigers were scared of them for years.  The Insight Bowl and the Big 12 stepped up and gave Missouri an opportunity.  If the fans let that opportunity pass they might as well book their travel to the Pinstripe Bowl for the foreseeable future.

This one’s on you, Tiger fans.  Get the credit card out.

Gabe DeArmond is the publisher of PowerMizzou.com, the Missouri site on the Rivals.com network.  You can read his daily coverage of the Tigers online at http://missouri.rivals.com.

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