Published December 5, 2013 - 10:40amNEW: Follow on facebook -
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.
Hopefully, Ohio State loses Saturday, and the SEC gets another team in the national championship.
Let’s get it on…
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
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