A look back at some of the things that were said during Saturday’s SEC Nation pregame show from Atlanta, before the SEC Championship Game between Alabama and Missouri:


  • Paul Finebaum: “Think about Nick Saban and Alabama – he has the most successful program in the country, but he has only won two SEC Championships since he arrived. He has won three national championships, but I think he really wants this one.”
  • Tim Tebow (on Gary Pinkel): He doesn’t get enough credit. He is someone that gets his team ready to play and they play better than the talent on their team says they should. They win more games than they should. They don’t have the same depth as Alabama, but they train guys, they build guys. They play with heart and toughness, and they find a way to win.
  • Marcus Spears: This offense is no longer vanilla. You have to defend everything against Alabama.


  • Joe Tessitore: Having been here last year is helping Missouri with confidence in this game.
  • Marcus Spears: You want to have a team that is well disciplined, a team that plays really good defense. And you want to give your team an opportunity to win the game late in the fourth quarter, and Coach Pinkel does that as well as anyone in the country. His team plays to be in the game in the fourth quarter and they feel like they can make the plays to win it.
  • Tim Tebow (on Maty Mauk): I thought he was going to have a better season than he has, but where he is great is in the fourth quarter when the team really needed him. He has had eight touchdowns in the fourth quarter this season and zero interceptions. He steps up in big moments and finds a way to get it done. If Alabama lets Missouri stay in the game through the fourth quarter, he might just get it done.


  • On Missouri: I don’t know if Missouri will win this game, but I do know that they aren’t scared. They are not intimidated.
  • On Auburn next season: I think Jeremy Johnson is going to step into that quarterback role and is going to be very dynamic. I expect him to be one of the best quarterbacks in the SEC next year. I expect this defense to improve. I think they have one of the best offenses in the country next year.
  • On Florida coach Jim McElwain: It takes time for success, but let’s be honest – this is the University of Florida. You are supposed to recruit, play in big games, and play for a championship. There is not a long grace period – there is a lot of pressure. My question is how well can Coach Mac handle that pressure?


  • Jim McElwain: The brand that is the University of Florida carries a national weight on it. This is one of those spots that you know is special. It is a once in a lifetime chance.
  • Paul Finebaum on Jim McElwain: He has one great advantage – he gets to replace Will Muschamp as opposed to Urban Meyer; that was one of Will’s biggest obstacles and he never quite got over it.
  • Gene Chizik on Gary Pinkel: He is the winningest coach at two different schools for a reason. His message to the team was “this year, it is time to win the football game.” They have an opportunity on the biggest national stage to really prove that they are on a level with Alabama.


  • Marcus Spears on Amari Cooper: He is one of the best players in the history of this conference. Look at what he does and how he impacts games – when he gets the ball, it is an explosive play more times than not. Defensive Coordinators have to scheme and game plan for single player, and that is a nightmare. All week, Missouri has been trying to figure out a way to eliminate Amari Cooper. He has the respect of defenses he hasn’t even played and players like that don’t come along often.
  • Greg McElroy on Blake Sims: I think he has been phenomenal. Look at last week’s game against Auburn – the resilience and leadership. He got better as the game went on, which shows a lot about his courage and how his teammates respond to him. He led an incredible comeback against the Auburn Tigers.
  • Gene Chizik on Nick Saban: He is the best in the business and nobody can argue that. He does a great job of evaluating what has happened previously in the season. He will review what gave his guys a chance to win, what happened to cause losses and use that information to not repeat history.


  • Tim Tebow: For me, it was Joshua Dobbs at Tennessee. They threw him in the game against Alabama and he led that team. He stepped in and changed the team.
  • Marcus Spears: I have to go with Florida. I expected this offense to be a lot strong under Kurt Roper. I thought they would take that step and that Jeff Driskel was going to thrive. That lack of production really surprised me.
  • Paul Finebaum: For me, it is Blake Sims. He has surprised everyone, mostly me. I didn’t expect him to be the starter. I thought Jake Coker was the answer. I didn’t think he [Sims] could come back and lead this program to important victories, and he has proven everyone wrong.