A Saturday with the Missouri Tigers starts well before kickoff. When the sun rises, you find your finest article of school spirit. At lunchtime, you gather with your friends and family, who bleed Black and Gold just like you. Two hours before the game begins, you have your spot for “Tiger Walk,” the football team’s march to the stadium. Finally, you arrive at Faurot Field, and then there’s no turning back. After all, you’re a part of Mizzou Nation, and there’s victory to be claimed.
The Tigers first entered the world of college football all the way back in 1890, and by 1945, they had claimed a total of ten league championships between time spent in the Missouri Valley and Big Six Conference. In ‘39, Mizzou-Rah appeared in its first big-time postseason match, when Don Faurot’s squad went 8-2 and booked a trip to the Orange Bowl. A good team, but maybe not necessarily a great one, Mizzou began to emerge as a perennial power in the ‘60s under the watch of coach Dan Devine. During the ‘60 campaign, the Tigers posted 10 wins for the first time ever, reached #1 in the polls at one point (another first), and triumphed at the Orange Bowl for the first time in school history.
Devine would guide Mizzou-Rah to the postseason four more times before departing in ‘70, but by this point, the Tigers had established themselves as fierce competitors. Warren Powers patrolled the sidelines from ‘78 to ‘84, orchestrating five bowl trips during his run. However, it’s been Gary Pinkel’s accomplishments in the new millennium that has Mizzou talking about a golden age on the horizon. Big 12 Conference titles in ‘08 and ‘10, plus SEC East banners in ‘13 and ‘14 (the Tigers joined the renowned football league in ‘12), have been the icing on a proverbial cake that has included bowl appearances in the double-digits since ‘01.
Across campus on the hardwood, you’ll find another outfit with championship aspirations. The men’s basketball team has been around since 1906 and has advanced to the NCAA tournament more than 20 times, including epic Elite Eight runs in ‘94, ‘02 and ‘09. At games, there’s no one louder than the renowned ZouCrew, the university’s official student cheering outpost. Their penchant for razzing opponents after free throws and foul calls hasn’t gone unnoticed by the rest of the college hoops world, and Mizzou Arena is often cited as one of the more dynamic environments around.
If you’re looking for the best representation of Mizzou fandom, then you may want to familiarize yourself with the school rallying cry, “Fight Tiger.” The traditional song contains a line that goes: “Fight, Tiger, Fight for Old Mizzou/Right behind you, everyone is with you.” With that in mind, picture this: fearless warriors decked out in Black and Gold battling on the field, while legions of fans support them from the stands. It’s an awesome sight, and a fitting one for such a resilient university.