MU tries to squelch rumor of picking Buffalo over Georgia for its football schedule

COLUMBIA | Expect Missouri to announce Buffalo soon as a non-conference opponent in Columbia for 2008. But Missouri did not make an either/or choice between that school and Georgia.

Despite intense Internet speculation over the past two days that Missouri was ducking Georgia for a nearly guaranteed victory (after Appalachian State beat Michigan, nothing is guaranteed), MU athletic director Mike Alden on Tuesday told The Star there was no validity to that theory.

Mark Alnutt, associate athletic director for administration and someone who is involved in scheduling negotiations, said there may have been one or two phone calls where Georgia inquired about playing MU, "but it never got to the point of the athletic directors being involved, or the head coaches,” he said.

“We passed because we were not available and being interested,” Alnutt said

Missouri might have been interested in playing Georgia in Columbia in 2008, Alnutt said, but there would have been concerns about playing at Georgia in 2009, when the Tigers would likely be debuting a new quarterback.

Chase Daniel will be a senior in 2008.

This season's non-conference schedule features a opponents from the Big 10 (Illinois) and the SEC (Mississippi). MU's home opener is Sept. 15 against Western Michigan of the Mid-America Conference. Illinois State, which plays in the division formerly known as Division I-AA, is the Tigers' other non-conference game.

Big 10 foe (Illinois, which MU beat 40-34 on Saturday in St. Louis), and Mississippi, an SEC opponent that will play host to the Tigers on Saturday. Western Michigan, picked to win the MAC this season, is MU’s home opener on Sept. 15 with one of those nearly guaranteed victories coming Sept. 22 in Columbia in the guise of Division 1-AA Illinois State.

If Buffalo is added, MU will certainly have a more diluted non-conference schedule for 2008.

Illinois and Missouri will open the season in St. Louis. Missouri also has signed to play Southeast Missouri and Nevada in Columbia.

Other home games that season are Oklahoma State, Colorado and Kansas State.