A Chip on their shoulders?

There are more pressing concerns, to be sure, but the Tigers are aware of the fact that none of them have beaten Colorado. The Buffaloes hold a five-game winning streak, dating back to the arrival of coach Gary Barnett, a Missouri alum. Check inside for a look at the matchup in the Big 12 opener for both schools.

0-5. 2-17.

It's not a Nebraska-sized streak, but Missouri definitely has not had much recent success against it's black-and-gold Big 12 brethren.

"We obviously have a lot of respect for them," coach Gary Pinkel said. "I don't think there's a guy in the locker room that's beat Colorado, nor a coach."

He's right. Missouri last defeated Colorado in 1998, a 38-14 stomping in Columbia. Since then, Missouri has lost twice in overtime and by five points last season, a crushing 21-16 defeat in Boulder in which the Tigers greatly outgained the Buffaloes and outplayed them in most facets of the game.

"I don't ever go back to past games," Pinkel said this week. "You look at them on video, but I think you kind of let things go. We made a lot of mistakes"--three turnovers--"in that game last year. They beat us because they beat us. They deserved to win the game."

Still, in typical levelheaded fashion, Pinkel did not want to place too much importance on the game, which doubles as the conference opener for both clubs.

"I think every game's important," he said. "I think any coach would not be truthful if they said the first conference game isn't important. I think everybody wants to win their first conference game because it's like your first game of the season. You want to start off in a positive way."

Missouri follows its opener with visits to Baylor and Texas, a potential confidence-builder followed by another big test. Still, a win against Colorado would go a long way toward establishing the Tigers' place in the conference food chain.

"It's the Big 12," junior QB Brad Smith said. "Any game in the Big 12 is a big one. It's a different feel, going against different players and different kinds of guys."

Colorado senior TB Bobby Purify is one of those guys, a talented back that functions as the centerpiece of the Buffalo offense. Purify has rumbled for 354 yards, good for 14th in the country. Purify has returned from an ankle injury that forced him to take a medical redshirt last season and is back to full form.

Pinkel said he was impressed with the strides Purify has made.

"Good athlete," he said. "He can run. He's got size. He's quick. He's just a very talented player. He was before he got hurt, a very impressive guy."

Junior DT C.J. Mosley, who is tied for the conference lead with three sacks, knows what to expect from the Colorado offense, especially from Purify.

"You can't miss a guy like that, man," he said. "He's a big guy. He's played with guys like (current NFLer) Chris Brown…he knows what he's gonna be doing out there. We gotta show up; we gotta show up to play."

Junior QB Joel Klatt guides the Colorado offense, which has been inconsistent to this point. Seven days after scraping for 125 yards of total offense in a win at Washington State, the Buffaloes romped to 586 yards in a 52-21 win against North Texas on Sept. 18.

The receiver corps is very young, but Pinkel said the Tiger defense would not write them off.

"I just think they're inexperienced players, as far as numbers of games played," Pinkel said. "I think they're really good athletes. They did a great job recruiting. They did a great job against North Texas. Their offensive line is big and strong like Colorado lines are. They obviously like to run the football, but they also like to play action and hit tight ends and hit receivers…

"Just because you get non-returning starters doesn't mean that you can't have good football players. They have good athletes, as you would expect Colorado to have."

Colorado's defense is evolving, but still struggling. True freshman LB Jordan Dizon became the first to start a Colorado season opener since 1991. No doubt a talented athlete, he has not made enough of an impact to turn around the unit. Colorado has been torched through the air, allowing an average of 346.4 passing yards per game, almost 100 more than any other Big 12 team and good for 116th in the country.

Still, there are some positives for the Buffs. The pass rush is experienced and strong, recording an impressive eight sacks against Washington State.

"That certainly got our attention," Pinkel said. "They have a lot of speed up front, their tackles are big. They do a good job."

The Missouri offensive line, which continues to mix two redshirt freshmen into the rotation, will face its biggest test of the young season. Still, the Tiger offense should be able to move the ball well.

Senior WR Thomson Omboga said the game is important, but not quite a must-win.

"It's not so big that you got to go in and beat Colorado," Omboga said. "If you want to win the Big 12, you have to go in and win a lot of Big 12 games. You just got to go in and look at them as a Big 12 opponent."

Sounds simple enough, but knocking off Colorado would be the first step in proving that Missouri is a contender in the Big 12's evolving North division.

"Colorado's (had) one of the top teams in our division since I've been here," Pinkel said.

"I'm 0-3 against them. It's a real important game and a game we're excited about playing."

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