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SEC Championship Game: Predictions

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Related: SEC Report focuses on this week’s SEC Championship Game

Two days from now the SEC will crown a new champion. It’s a different kind of SEC Championship this year between two teams that finished under .500 and combined for two SEC wins last year; both of them belonged to Missouri.

Kevin and I battled the entire year with picks, and we both finished with solid records against the spread and overall. I finished 65-46 ATS and 93-18 overall, while Kevin finished 61-50 ATS and 89-22 overall. Kevin also dominated during rivalry week, going 7-2 overall and 6-2 ATS, and me, well, I didn’t do so well at 3-6 ATS and 7-2 overall.

Related: 10 burning quetions about the SEC Championship Game

Hopefully, Ohio State loses Saturday, and the SEC gets another team in the national championship.

Let’s get it on…

Kevin:

All the talk this week is about Auburn because of the Iron Bowl, and rightfully so. My concern for Auburn entering Atlanta is, how hungry are they? If Auburn loses Saturday, it’s no big deal. They’ve already exceeded expectations, and they won their in-state Super Bowl in spectacular fashion. In between standing ovations during geography class, are the players grinding it out in order to compete on Saturday? Probably, one of the most common themes regarding college football is how it’s difficult for 18 and 19 year old kids to get ready to play emotional and psychologically week after week. I’ll just say this, if the Auburn players are jacked up and ready to play come Saturday, hats off to the coaching staff.

More than just the Iron Bowl hangover theory, the matchups on the field tend to favor Missouri in my opinion. Yes, Auburn’s run game is phenomenal and Nick Marshall has really been playing better, but I’m going to go with James Franklin and the Mizzou offense. Franklin is more of a veteran and has some nice bail out options with his receiving corps that has an average height of 8 feet 6 inches.

Both defensive lines have nice players, and perhaps, the Auburn read option can neutralize the up field penetration of the likes of superstar Sam, but I think Mizzou will be able to prepare and use their athleticism to maintain the Auburn attack.

While Mizzou fans are pumped and fans in the midwest might use the SECCG as another reason to flee an incoming ice storm, Auburn fans are going to fill the city of Atlanta. The close proximity, plus the Iron Bowl miracle means Auburn fans are going to be heading up I-85 and will fill that Georgia Dome on Saturday. Does Auburn have enough magic left in the tank? Will their fan base propel them to another SEC Championship (which would give them more SEC Championships than Alabama in the last 4 years)?

I believe that Missouri is going to do what they’ve been doing all year. Quietly, methodically beat their opponent. Despite a single half meltdown against South Carolina (Connor Shaw had something to do with it), Missouri has been about as consistent as it gets. They don’t rely on one single guy to get it done, and they have NFL talent on both sides of the ball.

I’m going with the Missouri Tigers to win the SEC in their second year in the conference. Who’d a thunk it?

Missouri 35, Auburn 32.

Related: SEC Championship Preview

Jon:

Auburn and Missouri match up well. When teams have equal-caliber athletes and a similar style, I go with the better running game and special teams. Obviously, that’s Auburn, who is rushing for over 318 yards per game and nearly put up 300 yards against one of the best defenses in college football in Alabama.

Auburn just seems like Destiny’s Darlings right now, with four fourth-quarter comebacks, with three of them coming literally in the closing seconds. How could you pick against Auburn? The entire country is talking about them jumping Ohio State and thrusting into the national championship.

Through all the success and crazy emotions regarding Auburn, Missouri has been the more consistent team the entire season. From offensive balance, efficient quarterback play, Henry Josey and the best receiving corps in the SEC to the most dynamic and active front four that includes the SEC’s Defensive Player of the Year, I’m taking Missouri to win this football game. Mizzou’s defense is so salty and much better against the run than anyone wants to believe. They have dominated turnover margin the entire year, and they are currently +15, compared to Auburn’s +1. Mizzou is one of three teams in college football to have not given up over 28 points in any game this season. The other two are Stanford and Michigan State. That’s some great company.

Auburn has magic, but all that magic has been at home this season in one of the most memorable seasons I can ever recall. Auburn has had a wonderful year, and Gus Malzahn should be the SEC and national coach of the year.

However, Missouri has been the most consistent team throughout the season, and I’m taking the Tigers of Mizzou to pull the upset and shock the college football nation. Furthermore, I’m feeling a bit risky. I’m calling an Ohio State loss to Michigan State, and Mizzou and FSU will play in the BCS National Championship.

How’s that for a prediction?

Missouri 31, Auburn 28

Photo Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports





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Comments 41

    • Just re-read the article and it gave me chills. Can’t wait for Saturday!

      • An important concept, I’ve been reminding all season is team development. Gene C.’s recruits not Malzahn and Gary Pinkels men from 2011 and 2012ss hospital ward, got better every week. The media could never figure it out because their formula is all about knowing next years results from last years. There is little adjusted equation that weighs recruits from the previous 5 years and not enough value to unmeasurables like leadership, unselfishness. I don’t know who will win this game, maybe it will be the team that is still growing the fastest? BUT i can tell you for sure, I have never seen an unselfish team of driven young men in college football like this Missouri team. What an inspiration. When all those NFL pros showed up last week to honor this team, it was amazing, hollywood could never invent something like this.

        • go Mizzou……lot of determination….they are my favorite team. 2007 team may have had a lot of rock stars but this team is a team…….

    • Same here TrueTexasTiger! I am counting the hours! I am living this this game!!!

  1. Posted something similar in the other thread. My team played (& lost) to both teams. The Auburn game (on the road), as badly as we played, was winnable at the end. However, at home, the Mizzou game never really seemed winnable. I’d say Mizzou 34 – Auburn 23. Neither stands a chance vs. FSU should they match up though.

    • The DA announces whether Jameis will be charged with rape at 2 today. If he gets charged, FSU becomes extremely beatable.

    • Bo and the Rebels looked really good much of the time during that game PCB Rebel. I was nervous watching it up until the end. Here is my thought regarding Florida State for who ever plays them. They have not yet been down by a significant number of points and had to claw their way back. This is due in large part to their weak schedule. While I believe they are a top team, I wonder how they will react to a team with just as much offensive explosiveness and with a defense that challenges them as well. Can Mizzou do that? No doubt. Can Auburn Do that? … Auburn would overwhelm FSU with offense… the only question would be how well the AU defensive line could contain and control J. Winston. Outside of that, if the D line was not successful in harassing Winston, how wil the corners match up? My point being, we keep seeing posts that only Alabama can handle FSU, but I submit the SEC teams in contention and some sitting at home, could match up well with FSU and make it a good game of it. Go Tigers!

      • I hope so, should Auburn or Mizzou make it to that game. I just doubt it. I hate all of y’all during the regular season, but I become an SEC homer during bowl season. So, good luck to all of y’all in late Dec./ early Jan.

  2. You guys gave Alabama a 17 point victory last week, so keep guessing Jon and Kevin. This should be a great game; I am very sad I will be at work for a good part of the game.

  3. Jon and Kevin, the day we joined the SEC, I have followed u guys. Many a day I have wondered how come they only cover the same ole teams? After reading this article I can rejoice, that Mizzou has arrived. The perception has changed for now, we shall see what the future holds. How do you spell SEC Respect? 11-1 record/7-1 league. So proud of our Tigers! It took last year’s injuries, frustrations and orientation to KNOW and LEARN what it takes to win in the SEC. Without last year, there’s no this year. I can finally say that I happily accept of 5-7 record from last year, cause now I know it wasn’t in vain. Pinkel made the necessary adjustments to improve his team from the Big 12 to the SEC style. Whether it was less physical two-a-days, allowing the seniors to lead, a blocking TE, tighter splits or whatever needed to be addressed, he did it. Let’s be honest, Mizzou is the most unlikely team to be in the SECCG. We came out of nowhere, and have shocked the SEC and nation. Auburn, has titles, history, a name brand, etc. We don’t, that why folks think pessimistic of Mizzou, “Nobodies” per William Wallace. Pinkel has Mizzou soaring on new heights, and new territory-literally!. He’s the Coach of the Year, we have true blue collar recruits 90% of the roster are 2-3 star players. I believe the only 5 star players are DGB and Boehm. Auburn is a perennial top 20 recruiting ranked team. We average mid thirties to 40′s. Can you imagine what Pinkel would have with consistent blue chips? Without the blue chips, the media is less likely to cover a team of no names. But when media gets donkey kicked in the side of the head, and try to figure out where did this team come from, they look silly and lazy for not taking the due diligence to research what made that team what they are. Of coarse I care what the media has to say about my team, but redemption comes in the form of wins and trophies. On a side note, could u imagine our DL if “Old man Football” Sheldon would have stayed? Nasty and unfair to any team….. BTW, I expect the title to touch the Show-Me come Saturday night. M I Z -ZOU.

  4. War Damn Truman! Great analysis… as a Mizzou fan I love this team and this season! So much talent and passion. Also watch out for Andrew Wilson, defensive captain, he read Texas A&M’s offensive calls like an open book. I think we stunt Auburn’s run and Mizzou trick’s Auburn into thinking we are going to pass and watch Josey run right down the middle!

  5. One key piece you’re leaving out of the discussion is coaching experience. Malzhan has experience as offensive coordinator with Auburn in the SEC Championship and the National Championship. He was able to “emotionally prepare” Auburn after 2 HUGE wins at Georgia and Alabama. They’ll be ready for Mizzou.

    • Yeah Gus can coach that’s for sure! But same can be said for Mizzou, actually we went to the Big 12 Championship game twice 2007 and 2008 and we lost both. So I have to say this team is hungry to get the title (yes difference conference, same objective though). So emotionally Mizzou is focused on the goal and that is a “W”. It’ll be a great game!

    • Great Points-Gus knows what this kind of game is like-especially how to win them.

  6. pbt
    Commented : 5 months ago

    Auburn to Win 34-28 in a last second failed fieldgoal attempt kicked by aaron murray and tipped by johnny football caught by jay prosch and ran back for a 85 yard touchdown war eagle

  7. I was hoping for an all Tiger championship game and if Auburn wins it will be hard to be mad because Mizzou has exceeded my expectations this year. and this might be our biggest year in the NFL Draft. speaking of, are the Falcons at home this week? it would be nice to see William Moore, Sean Weatherspoon and Chase Coffman at the game. I’m already getting anxious for next year.

  8. (Mizzou) With a receiving corps that has an average height of 8 feet 6 inches. Auburn is done nobody in America can cover those recievers lol but in all seriousness I think itll be Auburn 44 Mizzou 41 with an overtime finish.

  9. Logic has no place in making this prediction.
    Auburn has emotion on their side-geography helps also.

    Auburn 38-Missouri 24

    OSU will lose to MSU and Auburn will head to Pasadena to play against the man in the golden handcuffs from FSU.

    • Haha what a quality argument! You discount the logical reasoning by calling it illogical and then made a completely baseless reason for an Auburn win. They should put you on Sportscenter!

      • He makes a sound argument, though. There’s been nothing logical about Auburn’s season. They “should” have lost to at least one Miss team, A&M, UGA, and Bama. Nope, logic left the building for those games. I’ll send 100 internet points to anyone without an AU logo that honestly says they thought Auburn would beat UGA and Bama. Auburn is chosen by the Fates; Malzahn is their patron god through whom they perform miracles. Mizzou only has good players and coaches. How can they hope to compete with the supernatural?

        • cause their natural born grateful for their God given Truman the Tiger Talent. grin

  10. 32 hours 19 Minutes and counting! Safe travels to all inbound to Atlanta… FYI… it was 68 at 6:40AM driving into work this morning. The projected high today is 75 – 77. Not so lucky tomorrow… temp is dropping 22 degrees. See Ya’ll soon! M – I – Z!

  11. I hope Mizzou wins, so the Cocks can say they beat the SEC champs.
    But if Auburn wins, the Cocks go to the Cotton Bowl. Somehow if Mizzou wins, we get the Cap One Bowl. The Capital One Bowl pays more money, but the Cotton Bowl is a BCS Bowl and our Cocks will get more recognition going into next season with a Cotton Bowl appearance.

  12. Mizzou isn’t much more than a poor man’s Oregon: undersized, quick, and opportunistic. They have benefitted more than any other team in the SEC from a sequence of injured teams. They played their toughest two opponents at home, where both teams dealt with injuries in the QB position (don’t believe me? Did you see how Manziel reacted to the 14-7 td pass? He wasn’t hit hard, but jogged off field instead of celebrating. Think on what that does to a team’s morale.) Mizzou makes excuses for the loss to SCAR being Mauk’s fault, but they run essentially the same offense with him as with Franklin. SCAR, on the other hand, also started their freshman qb, who has a completely different skill set than Shaw. When they put an injured Shaw in, it was chaos for the porous Mizzou defense.
    Their next-best opponent, UGA, was without both of their running backs and their star TE, but still managed to make it 28-26 in the 4th qtr despite 4 turnovers. They managed to play their way to an 11-1 record, which is impressive. However, UGA and Florida were only shadows of their prior selves thanks to injuries. They also managed to escape SEC play without having to play the top 3 from the West (auburn, alabama, and lsu). Mizzou played only two FBS AQ opponents who average more than 200 rushing ypg. One was Indiana, who put up 28. The other was SCAR, who put up 27 and won the game.
    Auburn will control the clock, control field position, and easily win this game. The only chance Mizzou has of winning will come if they have a massive turnover margin or a large number of huge plays.
    45-31 Auburn

    • David, your letting your emotions qualify reality. These two teams have 5 common opponents. Their is little mystery about the past. Missouri has an 80 advantage on one side of the ball, and Auburn has a 40 point advantage on the other side. Having pointed out this hard math, history is history and today belongs to those who learned and improved. May the best team win and win the BCS NCG

      • I’m simply highlighting the key factors that most writers seem to omit. As for being emotional, yes, I am very emotional about this game. But I am also very analytical and refuse to buy into the recycled stats and trite one-liners that most articles have in common. Stats are huge part of knowing how a particular team will perform against the “average” opponent, but when one team matches up against another, the mean very little. To say that a team who stops the run will necessarily stop any team in every situation is far too simplistic. The common opponents argument is not terribly applicable without further investigation, something most writers are unwilling to perform. I am also willing to recognize and highlight the fact that emotion is a huge part of college football and can impact the game far more than the stats indicate. After all, we only have a few games serving as our sample each year; if a season were 100 games, we’d have a much better idea of what a team will do in any circumstance. Too many offensive and defensive schemes these days to rely on such a small group of games to tell us what will happen. To that end, I do believe this game will be evenly matched and I sincerely hope for and believe that the winner should play in the national championship. Either of these teams can win it all. I, however, put my money on the team who runs the ball better than anyone in college football.

  13. Really enjoyed the back and forth and the talking it out. The time for that is fast approaching it’s end. Just like the Ghost of Christmas present quickly ending his days on earth ( Auburn if you could explain Dickens to the Bama fans especially Alatide I would appreciate it). Tomorrow’s sun brings the day of battle. I think the boys are hungrier than they have ever been and each game a confidence builder. Leaving Nothing, Take Everything? Finish!

  14. Jon and Kevin; Great articles!!!! I have been reading comparison statistics of both team and I come away totally amazed. It is statistically very, very close!!! I do agree with both of your final score!!! It is going to be a great game. This Mizzou Team has been fun to watch; particularly last Saturday. The atmosphere was none like I have ever experienced.

  15. If the SEC is so tough, why is there a Big 12 team playing for the conference championship???