The Daniel Effect

By Adam Caparell - December 08, 2007

NEW YORK - Gary Pinkel's been the head coach at Missouri for seven years now and little did he think he'd be here for a Heisman Trophy presentation, hoping to see one of his own players walk away with the award.

With Chase Daniel one of the four finalists for the Heisman, Pinkel can't understate how great of an effect the quarterback's rise into the national conscious has had on Missouri.

"I took the job in December of 2000, and seven years later we're sitting here with a Heisman Trophy's been huge," Pinkel said. "That's how your program advances. No. 1 you win and No. 2 you have marquee players.

"What he does is he shines a light on the whole university and the whole state. It's a lot more than just the football team."

But Pinkel's football team had itself quite the season At 11-2, Missouri was a win away from playing in the national championship, but lost to Oklahoma for the second time this season in the Big 12 title game. The unexpected success and their ascent to No. 1 in the country still hasn't hit Pinkel yet as his focus after a weekend in the Big Apple will turn to the Tigers preparation for their bowl game.

"A week ago we were playing in the Big 12 Championship game so we played 13 games in 14 weeks so it's starting to hit a little bit," Pinkel said. "We want to finish it right."

That won't be easy considering Missouri will face Arkansas and Heisman Trophy finalist Darren McFadden in Cotton Bowl New Year's Day. But it's hard not to think about what could have been for the Tigers who were passed over for a BCS game by several bowls who instead chose Kansas and Illinois, two teams Missouri beat this season.

Six days after the snub, it's still a sore subject for Pinkel, but he won't get into it.

"I think there's an appropriate time to talk about it, but I don't think this is an appropriate time," Pinkel said.

Regardless, Missouri will be playing in a prominent bowl game against an SEC team and that's more than many could have hoped for out of the Tigers this season. And for that reason Pinkel's among a select few for several coach of the year awards. But he couldn't care less.

"I don't worry about that," Pinkel said.

Posted by Adam Caparell at 07:30 PM on December 08, 2007

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