Don't laugh.  While "optimal arousal," may sound like the tagline of a Viagra commercial, it's actually a big part of Mizzou's success this year.  Much has been made of Mizzou players meeting with a sports psychologist this season.  It appears it's paying dividends.

Last week I met with several players for a school project.  Naturally, our conversation moved from school to football.  As the players talked about how excited they were for the OU game I asked if their excitement could be detrimental - being too hyped up or over-eager which would result in mistakes and penalties etc.

They all mentioned the same thing: "optimal arousal."  With the help of the team's sports psychologist the team works on being at "optimal arousal," for every play.  Players said before each play they get their minds right to be at their best. The players said this year, when the team gives up a big play or makes a mistake they are much better at not letting it affect them mentally.

"Everyone has each other's back," one said.  "We know we'll be alright."

This also applies to being too hyped up.  The players told me they would be unbelievably amped up on Saturday night but expressed confidence that their excitement would be held in check.

This mental edge could not have been more apparent than it was on Saturday night.  Missouri was seemingly whipping Oklahoma on both sides of the ball yet at the end of the third quarter Mizzou trailed 21-20.  However, was there ever a doubt Mizzou would get the lead back?  There was no panic from the coaches or the players.  In past seasons, if Missouri surrendered a lead to Oklahoma the general feeling seemed to be, "Here we go again."  That was not the case Saturday night.

This team knows it's good.  They're confident.  Last week, a senior starter told me he'd never been so confident in his teammates and the coaches abilities to develop a winning gameplan.  That mentality is huge.  It was clear Mizzou was "optimally aroused," Saturday night.

This week Mizzou faces another big test.  A mentally weak team would be at risk for a letdown or the proverbial hangover.  However, Missouri isn't a mentally weak team anymore.  Does this mean they're guaranteed to beat the Huskers in Lincoln in five days?  No.  But I like their chances.