Missouri will be trying to replace the painful memories of its last visit to the Alamodome when the Tigers face Northwestern in the Alamo Bowl on Monday.
Missouri was ranked No. 1 last season and rolling toward a spot in the national championship before those hopes were dashed by a 38-17 loss to Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship game at the Alamodome.
Despite that difficult loss, quarterback Chase Daniel, who grew up near Dallas, is looking forward to playing his final college game in San Antonio in front of a large group of friends and family.
"It's something that I like to do and obviously I have a lot of family down here just as every other Texas player is going to have," Daniel said of the about two dozen other Tigers from Texas. "It's an exciting time. I have played in this stadium a lot so I'm familiar with it and hopefully just come out with a win."
The Big 12 championship game wasn't Daniel's only difficult loss at the Alamodome. Long before he took over the Tigers offense, Daniel and Southlake Carroll lost the Texas high school Class 5A Division II title to Katy in a 16-15 heartbreaker there in 2003.
The 25th-ranked Tigers (9-4) are playing in a bowl game for a school-record tying fourth straight season, but No. 22 Northwestern (9-3) hasn't been to a bowl since a 50-38 loss to UCLA in the 2005 Sun Bowl and is looking for its first bowl victory in 59 years.
The Wildcats' are 1-5 in bowl games, with the lone victory coming in their first appearance, a 20-14 win over California in the 1949 Rose Bowl. A win would give Northwestern 10 victories for just the second time in school history.
"We just want to have a springboard into next season," Northwestern defensive tackle John Gill said. "This is a really special group of seniors. We want to leave our mark here. Ten wins -- not many teams have had 10 wins and it's been a really long time since we've won a bowl game so doing both those things would really help."
The Tigers are coming off of two straight losses capped by a 62-21 defeat by Oklahoma in this year's Big 12 championship game. Missouri is also looking for its 10th win to give it double-digit victories in consecutive seasons for the first time.
"We haven't played up to our potential the last two games," said receiver and returner Jeremy Maclin. "With all of the stuff that is going around with coaches moving, players, seniors leaving ... nobody wants to end the season with a three-game losing streak and that 10th win would definitely mean a lot to us this season."
Daniel has passed for 4,135 yards this season, with the majority of those throws going to Maclin and Chase Coffman, winner of the Mackey Award given to the nation's best tight end.
Maclin leads the nation in all-purpose yards with 2,646 this season. He is the Tigers leading receiver with 1,221 yards and 12 touchdowns and has three other touchdowns in rushing and kick returns.
Coffman has 82 receptions for 920 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Dealing with Missouri's offensive weapons will be a test for Northwestern, which is coming off two straight wins. Corey Wootton, Northwestern's 6-foot-7 defensive end, leads the Wildcats' defense with nine sacks and 15 tackles for losses.
"It's a great opportunity," Wootton said. "They have one of the most prolific offenses in the country. Chase Daniel, Jeremy Maclin, Chase Coffman they are great offensive players. It will be the greatest challenge we've faced all year. We just want to be out there and prove that we can play with anybody in the country."
Northwestern will get a boost from the return of Tyrell Sutton. The team's leading rusher missed the last four games with a broken left wrist. He has 776 yards rushing with six touchdowns and 276 yards rushing with two scores.
Missouri coach Gary Pinkel knows his team will have to account for Sutton at all times.
"He has great quickness and he's a tough runner," Pinkel said. "They use him a lot of different ways. He's probably one of the top running backs we've faced for sure. You're not going to stop him. You've got to contain him the best you can."
Sutton will wear a brace on his wrist, but said that he won't let that slow him down.
"Getting used to the brace," he said. "I'm out there catching balls everyday, blocking like nothing ever happened to my wrist. So when I'm out there on the field I'm going to go out there and not worry about any injuries and whatever happens, happens."
AccuScore has powered more than 10,000 simulations for every College Football game on ESPN.com, calculating how each team's performance changes in response to game conditions and opponent's abilities. Each game is simulated and the game is replayed a minimum of 10,000 times to generate forecasted winning percentages.
A season that began with national-championship dreams for Missouri and Heisman hopes for quarterback Chase Daniel ends in San Antonio against Northwestern, one of the Big Ten's surprise teams. Daniel and standout wideout Jeremy Maclin face a much-improved Northwestern defense led by end Corey Wootton. Missouri makes its first appearance in the Alamo Bowl, while Northwestern heads back for the first time since 2000. -- Adam Rittenberg