COLUMBIA, Mo. (WAFB) - If there was ever a city totally driven by its university, it might be Columbia, Mo. The population of the city is 125,000 and the number of students at Mizzou is nearly 33,000.
Brad Tregnago, who does radio broadcasts for the Missouri Tigers, shared his thoughts on the area, those Tigers suddenly hosting the LSU Tigers, and how Mizzou is sometimes a quirky fit for the SEC. It joined the league in 2012.
“It has a really nice downtown, you’ve got a little bit of a suburban aspect to it with people that kind of live on the edges and then, you’ve got the rural aspect,” said Tregnago. “If you just drive a few miles out of town, you’ve got that, too, so I just think it’s a really cool mix here. Whatever you’re looking for, I feel like Columbia has at least a little bit of it. Certainly, it’d be a different situation if it weren’t in a pandemic because certainly, LSU would travel a lot and just the opportunity. ‘Hey, go see the defending national champions on a couple days’ notice.' I think you’d have a bigger crowd.”
“I think, overall, the decision to move to the SEC has certainly been a positive for Mizzou but (there are) a couple things you lose. One - you lose some of those rivalries that we have had up here for decades with teams like Kansas, especially, but even like your Kansas States, your Iowa States, teams like that. And another one of the disadvantages - you don’t get to see teams every year and even if you’re a typical football player who’s here for four years, you never see some teams in your own conference at all,” he explained.
“Yeah, three straight ranked opponents for a brand new head coach who got, I believe three spring practices in before the pandemic hit and he’s trying to put in a whole new offensive system and they’re still trying to figure out, ‘Okay, what is our identity now? What is it that we do well?’ And it’s a lot harder to find that identity when you’re playing the likes of Alabama, Tennessee on the road, and now, LSU in this game,” Tregnago added.
Alabama was ranked No. 2, Tennessee was No. 14, and LSU sits at No. 16 when facing Missouri.
It should be a beautiful day for football Saturday. It is forecast to be 74 degrees, sunny, and no chance of rain. Temperatures should climb into the 80s by the end of the afternoon.
LSU’s first-ever trip to Missouri is one that fans of the Bayou Bengals really couldn’t plan to be a part of, which is too bad, because they definitely would have enjoyed the changing colors of fall and Missouri’s campus. One of the places many people recommended for lunch is Shakespeare’s, a pizza place in downtown Columbia.
“To break it down simply, we’ve got a really good product and a nice casual atmosphere,” said Toby Estein, the general manager of Shakespeare’s. "During regular years, when we’re not having a pandemic, this place is packed all day, all night, all the time. There’s just a good spirit in this town. It’s super friendly, a typical Midwest town, I think.
Do you kind of wish you could have had all of the LSU fans come up?
“I totally wish we had ... a normal year, this would have been a great setting. We’ve got perfect weather. We welcome the opposing fans just as much as the Mizzou fans. We think it’s great when they come here and a lot of them come back when they come back again,” he explained.
Kickoff is scheduled for 11 a.m. and the game will be shown on the SEC Network Alternate Channel.
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