The 2013 SEC Championship Game from the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA features a two participants that hardly anyone would have expected to be the two teams battling it out for a BCS bowl berth and the title in one of the most competitive conferences in the nation. This Saturday afternoon (4:00 pm ET) the 5th ranked Missouri Tigers (11-1) and the 3rd ranked Auburn Tigers (11-1) square off in a hotly anticipated game that could have BCS National Title Game implications depending on the results of other conference title games, namely the Big 10 and the ACC. Missouri defeated Texas A&M last week at home by a score of 28-21, while Auburn won their rivalry game the Iron Bowl in dramatic fashion over then-#1 Alabama 34-28 on a 109-yard missed field goal return with one second remaining.
Missouri ranks 17th among FBS teams in total offense with 489.5 yards per game and 14th in scoring offense with 38.8 points per game allowed. Mizzou features a balanced offensive attack. Coach Gary Pinkel’s Tigers move the ball with equal effectiveness whether on the ground (236.9 ypg) or through the air (252.6).Quarterback James Franklin, who missed 3 starts with a shoulder injury but has an 8-0 record on the season and has averaged 217 yards passing per game. Mizzou runs the ball with junior running back Henry Josey, who has averaged 79 yards rushing per game and has scored 13 TDs. Missouri ranks 52nd among FBS teams in total defense with 385.4 YPG allowed and 14th in scoring defense with 19.4 PPG allowed.
Auburn ranks 15th among FBS teams in total offense with 491 yards per game and 17th in scoring offense with 38.6 points per game. The Tigers average 318.2 YPG on the ground with quarterback Nick Marshall, who leads all SEC quarterbacks in rushing with 84 yards per game, and has 10 TDs, leading the attack. Marshall can hand off to junior running back Tre Mason, who leads the SEC in rushing, and ranks 19th nationally, at 109.8 yards per game. Mason has scored 18 touchdowns. Auburn ranks 75th nationally in total defense with 414.3 YPG allowed and 31st in scoring defense with 22.5 PPG allowed.
Missouri vs. Auburn Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Missouri Tigers -1
@ Auburn Tigers +1
Over 59 (-110)
Under 59 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Missouri vs Auburn Pick
The two teams have no head to head history to speak of, having met only once before in 1973. Both teams are surprise entrants in this game and have obviously been on quite a roll so far this season, with wins over the top programs in the SEC and the nation. The difference may come down to experience, as Auburn is playing in the SEC Championship for the 4th time while Mizzou in their second season in the conference, will be making their first appearance.
Auburn’s pass defense is the second-worst in the conference, and that will hurt them against Franklin and company. Mizzou has the pass rush and athletes upfront to contain Marshall as they did against Johnny Manziel last week. Their defensive front will keep Marshall under wraps and make him more of a pocket passer, and they have a big group of dangerous veteran receivers for Franklin to use and spread the offense around against a suspect Auburn secondary. The magic carpet ride ends for Auburn here, take Mizzou to cover here.