Auburn, Missouri Both Overcome Odds to Compete for SEC Title in Battle of Tigers


Chris DavisWe all know that the best, most memorable games come when there’s something on the line, and there has been no game in recent memory that was better or had more on the line than last week’s game between Auburn and Alabama. The NCAA moneyline took notice, and one of history’s greatest finishes to a game took the sporting world by storm.

You know by now about the attempted field goal by Alabama kicker Adam Griffith that turned into a 109-yard, game-winning return for a touchdown by Auburn’s Chris Davis, a moment that has already cemented itself as one of the most dramatic moments in Iron Bowl history. The Auburn faithful are still celebrating.

The players, however? There’s a little matter of the SEC Championship game for the Tigers to consider. And the Missouri … Tigers.

It’s not just the mascot that makes these two teams similar, though. They have identical 11-1 records, including 7-1 records in conference play. Both came from dire situations just one year ago, where Auburn fired their coach after a three-win season and Missouri looked feeble as they entered the SEC. Both have overcome the odds to find themselves in this championship game; Auburn against Alabama and Missouri against Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M.

Auburn enters this game as a -2 favorite at the Bovada Sportsbook, which just means that you can expect this to be a very tight game. We can’t tell you if momentum from Auburn’s victory will carry into next Saturday’s championship, or if Missouri can continue to dominate on both sides of the ball, but we can tell you that you don’t want to miss this game.

The difference in this game may come from Missouri’s senior quarterback James Franklin, who is 162-for-242 for 1,952 yards and 16 touchdowns this season. Five of his receivers have at least 20 catches this season. Franklin has been an expert at reading and exploiting defenses this year, which has lead to that near-perfect record. Auburn, on the other hand, hasn’t exactly been stellar when it comes to defending against high-powered offenses.

That may not stop Auburn from running wild. Tre Mason leads all rushers in the SEC with 1,317 yards and 18 touchdowns. In fact, nobody is close. Considering he’s been splitting rushing duties with signal caller Nick Marshall, who himself has 922 yards and 10 touchdowns, it’s amazing to see what Mason has done this season.

While it’s hard to call a team whose only loss came from a missed field goal attempt in double-overtime, there may be no better time to take Missouri. Then again, there’s also the chance that a win over Missouri could land Auburn in the BCS title game (they have 11-2 odds of winning it, too), so there’s that extra motivation for Auburn to play well.

These two teams are so evenly matched on paper, and there’s so many intangibles to weigh your decision on, that it’ll be a real challenge to pick a winner in this one.

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