November 11, 2008

Media day notebook: Focusing on ISU

By the time the Missouri Tigers take the field on Saturday in Ames, they will know whether or not they can win the Big 12 North on Saturday night. Kansas and Texas kickoff at 11:30 a.m. Central time on Saturday in Lawrence. If the Longhorns win that game, a Missouri win ices a spot in the Big 12 Championship game on December 4th in Kansas City.

"Of course they're aware of that," Gary Pinkel said. "The bottom line is we've got to go play well. Anything outside of that doesn't really matter."

That said, the Tigers will have plenty of time to watch the game while they sit in their hotel rooms in Ames.

"You have no control over that," Pinkel said. "They're going to watch games. Better than to say don't watch it is they just have to learn how to deal with it."

It was about an even split between Tiger players who said they would watch the game and those who said they'd rather not know the result.

"I'm going to be watching because Colt (McCoy) is playing," Chase Daniel said. "It will be even better to watch it because of the championship implications. But I want to watch Colt play any time I can and he does the same with me."

Some of his teammates won't have their televisions least not on the Jayhawk game.

"We've been in that situation before where a lot of guys are watching other games and not focusing on what we have to do. We definitely don't want to get into that," Sean Weatherspoon said. "We're going to be focused, not worrying too much about Big 12 football. I try to watch other conferences play and things like that. We're going to be focused on Iowa State because that's the only game that matters to us."

"I know I'm going to be flipping channels and trying to watch it, but you've got to ignore that at the same time," Derrick Washington said. "I think we did that against Oklahoma State this year. We kind of watched that Texas game and in a lot of our minds, we thought, 'Yeah, we're going to be number one if we win.'"

"A lot of the guys were sitting around and watching the Texas and Oklahoma game that week, the Red River Shootout, and it was like the stage is set for a big game the next week," Weatherspoon added. "We kind of got ahead of ourselves and it hurt us. We definitely don't want that to happen again."

Make no mistake, though, the Tigers would just as soon see Texas help them out on the road to the North title instead of leaving it to be decided on the field on November 29th when Missouri and Kansas square off in Kansas City.

"Anytime you can clinch a division title, you're going to take it right off the bat," Daniel said.

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