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Old 12-07-2013, 08:52 AM   #1 (permalink)
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SEC Championship: #5 Missouri vs #3 Auburn (CBS, 4:00 PM)

Tiger Bowl I this afternoon on CBS.

Who expected these two teams to play for the SEC title at season's start? (Now put down your hands, because you didn't.)

Which team will complete the more improbable turnaround of the year?
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Old 12-07-2013, 08:53 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Rooting for Mizzou.

Damn I hate Auburn.
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Old 12-07-2013, 09:00 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Missouri defense > Auburn defense. That's enough to decide the game in my opinion. Missouri will slow down Auburn some, but I doubt Auburn's defense will have any success stopping Missouri.

Missouri 38
auburn. 23
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Old 12-07-2013, 09:21 AM   #4 (permalink)
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How well will Auburn be able to adjust following last weekend's high? Auburn's been living off prayers and miracles the last two weekends. Or could they possibly get caught up in all the media and talks of possible national championships?

On the other end, this is Missouri's first trip to the Georgia Dome. Will they be jittery? Will they need time to adjust? (They apparently missed their walkthrough in the stadium on Friday). A win today, however, would not only give Missouri its first conference championship since 1960, it would make head coach Gary Pinkel the winningiest coach in school history (passing former coach Don Faurot, 101 wins).
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Old 12-07-2013, 09:26 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Line is Mizzou -1
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Old 12-07-2013, 09:29 AM   #6 (permalink)
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How well will Auburn be able to adjust following last weekend's high? Auburn's been living off prayers and miracles the last two weekends. Or could they possibly get caught up in all the media and talks of possible national championships?
Malzahn even said it was really good that they had the extra week to chill after the Georgia drama. So it'll be interesting.

Mizzou pass rush/pressure is awesome but idk how big of a factor that will be against AU.
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Old 12-07-2013, 09:44 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Is anyone rooting against Mizzou just because they aren't a 'traditional' SEC team?
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Old 12-07-2013, 09:45 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Missouri defense > Auburn defense. That's enough to decide the game in my opinion. Missouri will slow down Auburn some, but I doubt Auburn's defense will have any success stopping Missouri.

Missouri 38
auburn. 23
Honestly, though, neither team is that great against the pass. I believe they're both near the lower rankings in the conference.

Missouri's run defense and pass rush are generally better while Auburn seems to adjust on defense by playing deeper on the defensive line.

However, playing an offense like this might mean Missouri's linemen have to be less aggressive than they usually are and instead play more disciplined. Meanwhile, playing against a strictly no-huddle offense also means Auburn won't be to make those substitutions on defense.


Missouri also is plus 11 in turnovers in SEC games this year (plus 14 overall); Auburn is minus 1 in league play (plus one overall). (Missouri averages forcing a turnover every 35 plays, Auburn every 53 plays.)


Auburn however, clearly has the advantage on special teams, which could decide the game. (Actually they're both ranked low in kickoff coverage yet highly in kickoff/punt returns.)
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Old 12-07-2013, 09:46 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Is anyone rooting against Mizzou just because they aren't a 'traditional' SEC team?
I think enough people don't like Auburn so that doesn't matter
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Old 12-07-2013, 09:46 AM   #10 (permalink)
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The Barn's D-Line will win this game for them.
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Old 12-07-2013, 09:48 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I wonder how divided the crowd will actually be. This is only, what, a 100 mile trip from Auburn and like 670 miles from Columbia?
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Old 12-07-2013, 09:51 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I think enough people don't like Auburn so that doesn't matter
That's my thought too. But here in Kanas City, they are saying all the fans in the South will root against MU because they aren't a traditianal SEC team.
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Old 12-07-2013, 09:51 AM   #13 (permalink)
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MrSEC.com pretty in-depth write-up:

SEC Championship Game Preview - 12/6/13 - MrSEC.com | SEC Football News | SEC Basketball News | SEC Football Recruiting | SEC Basketball Recruiting

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#3 Auburn (11-1) vs #5 Missouri (11-1) in Atlanta

TV: 4:00pm ET on CBS

Opening Line: MU -2

Current Line: AU -1.5

Common Opponents: Arkansas State (Missouri 41-19 win, Auburn 38-9 win), Georgia (Missouri 41-26 win, Auburn 43-38 win), Tennessee (Missouri 31-3 win, Auburn 55-23 win), Ole Miss (Missouri 24-10 win, Auburn 30-22 win), Texas A&M (Missouri 28-21 win, Auburn 45-41 win).

Average Score Vs Common Opponents: Missouri 33-16 average win, Auburn 42-27 average win

One To Watch: Missouri’s pass rush versus Nick Marshall. Auburn allowed just 15 sacks all season. That’s the third best number in the SEC. But Saturday they’ll face the league’s best unit at getting to the quarterback. Mizzou has wrung up 37 sacks on the season (about three per game). Michael Sam has 10.5 sacks by his lonesome while fellow D-linemen Markus Golden, Kony Ealy, and Shane Ray all have 4.5 or more. The black and gold Tigers can flat get after opposing signal-callers. But here’s the rub: Auburn’s quarterback ranks eighth in the SEC in rushing yards this season (922 yards on 140 carries). Gus Malzahn’s squad doesn’t throw the ball much, but when they do, MU’s pass rush will have to be controlled. The ends will have to be careful not to get too far upfield. The last thing Mizzou needs to do is create escape routes and running lanes for Marshall on those rare occasions when he is asked to put the ball in the air.

This And That:

1. Speaking of Auburn’s passing game, the Tigers are nowhere near balanced on offense. On the season they had what amounted to a 2-to-1 rush-to-pass ratio (3,819 yards on the ground versus 2,073 through the air). Ironically, the navy and orange Tigers’ most balanced performance (213 rushing yards versus 224 passing yards) came in their lone loss to LSU. Missouri, on the other hand, is the SEC’s most balanced offense. In 2013, Gary Pinkel’s Tigers have rushed for 2,843 yards and passed for 3,031. Being one-dimensional hasn’t hurt Auburn yet, but we’ll still give a slight edge to Mizzou for having two proven means of moving the football.

2. Which team is facing the bigger distraction this week? Pinkel had to come out on Thursday and shoot down rumors that he might leave Missouri for Washington. Meanwhile, Auburn’s players have been glad-handed and back-patted all week down on the Plains. Chris Davis — who won the Iron Bowl for AU with his last-second touchdown return — was given an ovation when he entered one of his classes this week. Missouri had the Pinkel thing, but the possible letdown for Auburn would seem to be a bigger factor on the ol’ psyche. Malzahn will have needed to do a great job of keeping his team focused after they won the state of Alabama’s own version of the Super Bowl.

3. Auburn has been on big stages before. Just three years ago this week the Cam Newton-led Tigers were whipping South Carolina for the SEC title and setting up a trip to Glendale, Arizona and a BCS title clash with Oregon. There are still some Tiger players — along with support staff, coaches, broadcasters, etc — that remember what it’s like to play in an SEC title game and in a national championship game. This is new stuff for Missouri. Pinkel took two previous teams to the Big 12 Championship Game, but his current squad wasn’t part of that show. And everyone involved in Mizzou’s traveling party will be experiencing the magnitude of an SEC title game for the first time. Auburn knows the Georgia Dome. Missouri does not. If one team has the jitters early on, it figures to be the Tigers from Columbia, not the ones from Auburn.

4. Don’t forget about the backup quarterbacks going into this one. As we showed you earlier this week, 11 of the SEC’s 14 schools have had to change starters due to injury at least once this season. James Franklin missed the better part of four games with a shoulder injury. Marshall missed Auburn’s game with Western Carolina and then played only briefly against Florida Atlantic as he nursed a pair of different injuries. With Franklin and Marshall both sure to run tomorrow afternoon, both teams are just one hit away from needing to call on their second-stringers. In Mizzou’s case that’s Maty Mauk who started against Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky. He’s a dual-threat QB just like Franklin. Auburn backup Jeremy Johnson is a 6-5 pass-first kind of player. His experience came against those aforementioned creampuffs — WCU and FAU. In those two games Johnson attempted 41 passes while rushing just seven times. If both quarterbacks go out on Saturday, Missouri should be able to run their standard offense with Mauk. Auburn would likely dial back on the quarterback runs and pump up the aerial assault.

5. This week, we examined the speed of each SEC offense. Auburn and Missouri rank fourth and fifth, respectively, when it comes to going up-tempo. The three fastest offenses in the league — Texas A&M, Ole Miss and Georgia — all played both AU and MU this season. So which defense did the best job of surviving those no-huddle attacks? Mizzou gave up 1,211 yards and 57 points to that triumvirate. But Auburn yielded a mind-blowing 1,598 yards and 101 points to A&M, UM and UGA. In terms of defending fast offenses like the two that will be on display tomorrow, the advantage goes to Missouri in a big way. That doesn’t mean Auburn won’t be able to move the ball at all. Malzahn’s offense involves more motion than anything Dave Steckel’s defense has seen this season. Missouri’s D is physical, but they’ll also need to play smart tomorrow.

6. Kick off a big SEC football game and those of us at MrSEC.com start counting turnovers. Our own six-season research project showed that turning the ball over just once in an SEC-versus-SEC matchup drops a team’s chances of winning from 72.5% (with zero turnovers) to 61.6% (with one giveaway). Looking at it from another angle, teams that finished an SEC contest plus-two in turnover margin won 80% of the time between 2007 and 2012. So who’s done a better job of protecting the ball this season? Missouri. By a country mile. In SEC games, Pinkel’s squad was plus-11 in turnovers. They were plus-14 overall. Malzahn’s team, however, was minus-one in league play and just plus-one overall. In another SEC-versus-SEC turnover study we posted this week, we showed you that MU forces a takeaway on defense once every 34.9 snaps. Auburn takes the ball away from a foe once every 53.2 plays. More impressive is the fact that Missouri turned the ball over just six times in eight conference game this season — just once every 94.3 snaps. Auburn had 12 turnovers in SEC action (one giveaway every 47.7 snaps). That’s yet another advantage for the East Division champs.

7. In several statistical categories, these squads are almost dead even. Scoring offense: MU 38.8 points per game, AU 38.6 points per game. Total offense in SEC games: AU 461.3 yards per game, MU 459.8 yards per game. Even red zone defense in conference play (allowing touchdowns from inside the 20), Auburn is second best in the conference (51.4% TDs) and Missouri is third best (52.1% TDs). But when it comes to other defensive stats, the advantage clearly goes to Pinkel’s team. Scoring defense in conference games: MU allowed 18.6 points per game, AU allowed 28.0. Rushing defense in league play: MU allowed just 120.7 yards per game (best in the SEC), while AU gave up 183.7 (9th in the SEC). Total defense in SEC play: MU allowed 378.9 yards per game while AU surrendered 458.1 yards per game.

Missouri’s Gotta Defend: Auburn’s special teams units. Davis beat Alabama with a 109-yard return. And that run wasn’t even part of AU’s regular special teams repertoire. The Tigers have four punt returns of 20+ yards (best in the SEC). They also have eight kickoff returns of 30+ yards. Mizzou can’t afford to let AU win the game with a big special teams play.

Auburn’s Gotta Defend: Missouri’s tall receivers. Auburn’s secondary has been scorched on occasion this year. They’ve allowed 44 passes of 20 or more yards, the worst mark in the SEC. They’re also worst in terms of 30+ yarders allowed (with 24) and 40+ yarders allowed (with 12). Now Ellis Johnson’s defense will have to cover L’Damian Washington (6-4, 205), Dorial Green-Beckham (6-6, 225) and Marcus Lucas (6-5, 220).


Final Take On Missouri: Looking through the stats, facts and figures we were shocked to find that Mizzou’s Tigers held so many advantages. On paper, the East Division Tigers look like they should be an easy pick to win. But it’s hard to imagine a second-year SEC program marching right into Atlanta — just an hour-and-a-half from Auburn — and knocking off one of the league’s traditional Big Six powers, a program that hoisted a crystal football in January of 2010. That’s no knock on Missouri. We’ve said all season that the Tigers are for real and the stats above all seem to pound the point him further. But SEC champs so quickly?

Final Take On Auburn: The Tigers are clearly good. Very good. But are they great… or are they lucky? Don’t zip us ugly emails just yet, Auburn fans. All championship teams need some lucky bounces and some good fortune. In the Tigers case, they’ve gotten plenty in the last three weeks. First came a tipped Hail Mary against Georgia that turned a fourth-and-forever play into a victory. Last Saturday, the Tigers hung with top-ranked, unbeaten Alabama for 59 minutes and 59 seconds. Then, when the officials decided to put a second back on the clock and Nick Saban decided to attempt a 57-yard field goal, Malzahn’s team cashed in with a 109-yard return of that missed field goal. So is Auburn a team of destiny or is their luck about to run out?
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Old 12-07-2013, 09:53 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Auburn's also been studying the game film from Missouri's loss to South Carolina

http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/...nclick_check=1

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Missouri’s lone loss of the season came in double overtime against South Carolina.

The Gamecocks run a nearly identical 4-2-5 defense to Auburn’s. Defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson previously coached in Columbia. With the ability to watch how Missouri played against a similar scheme, the Auburn staff used the South Carolina game tape and five others to prepare for today’s SEC Championship Game.

“We definitely looked at it, because there are a lot of similar fronts,” Johnson said. “You see how they play them to block the fronts. Coverage-wise, they’re doing some things we put in several years ago, (South Carolina defensive coordinator Lorenzo) Ward and I put in.”

Even though No. 5 Missouri was without starting quarterback James Franklin, it made little difference to evaluating Missouri’s offense.

“They do the same things with Maty Mauk,” Johnson said. “They’re both really good with their feet and their arm and their eyes, too. They read things well. It looked to me like the exact same offense with the same potential.”

Missouri also runs a 4-2-5 defense, so it won’t be unusual when they face Auburn today. What will be different is the depth of the Auburn defensive line, which rotates 10 players on a regular basis.

“I think everybody plays different versions (of the 4-2-5),” Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel said. “Their defensive front is really good. They’re a great red zone defensive football team. That’s why the scoring is so low. Don’t give up a lot of big plays. Every defense has its challenges.”

Pinkel was being polite in his assessment. Johnson’s biggest complaints all year have been the “garbage plays” which his group has allowed all season.

“I don’t mean to take away from anything in the positive things, but the things that we do during the course of games to create the problems, that’s got to stop or we’re not going to win a championship,” Johnson said. “I don’t mean to diminish that and the importance of the red zone and what we did, but you also look on it and we gave up almost 500 yards, and 153 in two plays (in the Iron Bowl).
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Old 12-07-2013, 10:53 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Should be a good game.
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