Inside the SEC

By Cole FrederickBy Cole Frederick

Iron Bowl recap

In the 78th edition of the Iron Bowl, the Auburn Tigers won in one of the most spectacular endings in the history of college football on The Plains. With the game tied at 28, Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon stepped out of bounds seemingly as time expired. However, officials put one second back on the clock for the Crimson Tide. Nick Saban opted to try a 57-yard game-winning field goal. Kicker Cade Foster had already missed three field goal attempts, so Saban decided to let backup kicker Adam Griffith try the field goal. Griffith’s kick was short, and Auburn defensive back Chris Davis fielded the kick in the back of the end zone. Davis ran down the left side of the field, and the Crimson Tide failed to cover the kick. Davis ran the missed kick 109 yards for the game-winning touchdown, and Auburn knocked off Alabama 34-28. From start-to-finish, the game was full of exciting plays. AU quarterback Nick Marshall scored first on a long run in the first quarterback. UA quarterback A.J. McCarron hit receiver Amari Cooper with a 99-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. With less than a minute left in the game, Nick Marshall hit a wide-open Sammie Coates for a game-tying touchdown. With the win, Auburn improved to 11-1 on the season, while Alabama dropped to 11-1. Auburn will take on Missouri (Dec. 7) on Saturday in the SEC Championship Game. 

SEC Rankings

1. Auburn (11-1, 7-1)

2. Missouri (11-1, 7-1)

3. Alabama (11-1, 7-1)

4. South Carolina (10-2, 6-2)

5. LSU (9-3, 5-3)

6. Texas A&M (8-4, 4-4)

7. Vanderbilt (8-4, 4-4)

8. Georgia (8-4, 5-3)

9. Ole Miss (7-5, 3-5)

10. Mississippi State (6-6, 3-5)

11. Tennessee (5-7, 2-6)

12. Florida (4-8, 3-5)

13. Arkansas (3-9, 0-8)

14. Kentucky (2-10, 0-8)

SEC Championship Preview

(Week 14: 6-3; Season: 93-19)

Last season, Auburn and Missouri were a combined 2-14 in the Southeastern Conference. 

Auburn was 3-9 a year ago and is now 11-1. Gus Malzahn’s Tigers have completed the biggest turnaround in SEC history. Missouri’s first season in the SEC was a very difficult transition, as Gary Pinkel’s Tigers finished 5-7. The winner of this game not only wins the conference championship but also has a slight chance of making the BCS national championship game.

Florida State and Ohio State are first and second, respectively, in the BCS rankings. If both teams win their conference championships, they likely will meet in the BCS title game. If one of those teams loses, however, the winner of the SEC title game will slide into the national title game. 

In the unlikely event that both Florida State and Ohio State both lose, there could potentially be an Iron Bowl rematch in Pasadena with more than just bragging rights at stake.

Auburn and Missouri are very similar teams. Both teams have dominant defensive lines, although Auburn’s might be slightly better due to more depth. Mizzou’s linebackers are better overall, and both secondaries have struggled throughout the year. Offensively, Auburn and Missouri run up-tempo offenses. Missouri has big and physical receivers, led by sophomore Dorial Green-Beckham. Mizzou running back Henry Josey has had an incredible season, and senior quarterback James Franklin is finally recovered from a shoulder injury he suffered midway through the season. For Auburn, Nick Marshall and Tre Mason lead the SEC’s top-ranked rushing attack. Auburn’s rushing attack vs. Missouri’s rushing defense will be one huge factor that determines the winner of the game. If Auburn can run the ball like they did against Alabama, Gus Malzahn’s Tigers will win the SEC Championship. Prediction: Auburn 34, Missouri 31.

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