SEC Rewind, Alabama vs. Missouri in 1978

By Dan Irwin
Bear Bryant
Malcolm Emmons – US Presswire

Since there’s not a lot of history between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Missouri Tigers, we found it entirely appropriate to revisit the last meeting between the two schools and perhaps re-familiarize the teams that haven’t played in 34 seasons.

The all-time series currently belongs to Missouri with a 2-1 record.  Oddly enough, the two teams have never played in Tuscaloosa, and the game this Saturday will be the second meeting in Columbia, Mo.

The first ever meeting came in the 1968 Gator Bowl in Jacksonville.  It was the meeting of two coaching legends as Dan Devine led his Tigers to victory over Bear Bryant‘s Crimson Tide squad, in front of a crowd of 68,011.  The second meeting came in 1975 as Missouri coach Al Onofrio took his team down to Birmingham and ruined a potential national championship season for Alabama.

By ’78, Bear Bryant was starting to hear about the “Mizzou Jinx” on campus.  At the time, believe it or not, it was said Alabama was fortunate that Missouri wasn’t in the SEC.  Bryant just couldn’t get it taken care of against the Tigers from up north.

For the third meeting, both teams were again ranked.  In fact, the 2012 meeting with an unranked Missouri squad will mark the first time in the short series’ history that one of the teams isn’t ranked.  But there was plenty to be concerned about for the second week of the season in ’78.

Missouri had just gotten done with a trip to South Bend, where first year head coach Warren Powers‘ team knocked off the defending national champion and No. 1 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish in a 3-0 battle.  The loss to Missouri in ’75 and talk about how he couldn’t get it done against Mizzou was fresh on Bryant’s mind.  The accompanying video clip takes us back to Columbia on that hot, mid-90’s, early September game.

Alabama linebacker Barry Krauss said that the blocked punt was huge.  “It was the turning point of the year,” he recalled. “We knew we could come back. We thought we could beat anyone, anywhere. It was a big moment in a big game.”

Although the quality of play may not be so even for the 2012 meeting, it doesn’t mean Alabama doesn’t want this game as much as the others.  After all, they’re tired of hearing about how the new guy is the only team with a winning record against them.

But against all odds, don’t count Mizzou out yet.  They do have experience in derailing an Alabama national championship season.

Dan Irwin is an SEC football writer for Rant Sports.  Follow him on Twitter @ danirwin_rant, or on Facebook at ““.

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