Finally, after years of speculation, dread, hope and now anticipation, the University of Missouri Football program is about to play a conference game Saturday in a conference other than the Big 12 or its predecessor, the Big 8.
Fans in the St. Louis area gathered Tuesday at in Creve Coeur to get more energized for the Tigers' Southeastern Conference debut.
They had a chance to quiz Dave Matter, Mizzou beat writer for the Columbia Daily Tribune who grew up in Affton and south St. Louis County, about everything from the new-look offensive line to why Mizzou's cornerbacks seem to give opposing receivers too much space at the line of scrimmage.
Matter is co-author of the new book, The Mizzou Fan's Survival Guide To The SEC.
The book is part history guide, part travel guide to the must-do experiences in each SEC hometown.
Matter, a graduate of SLUH who went on to college at Missouri where he's spent 13 of the last 14 years covering sports at the Tribune, was joined at the Creve Coeur event by his parents, Dave and Bobbie.
Everyone, including the coaches and the media, are anticipating the matchups of what's to come in the SEC. Even in this age of cable television and social media, "Nobody really knows what to expect," Matter said.
"For me, it's the same job, kind of like starting a new job," he said of how he's approaching learning about life in a new football conference, as he now has a whole new crop of opposing coaches and players to get to know.
The same could be said for Missouri fans getting ready for life in the SEC.