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SEC Championship preview: Missouri vs Auburn

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Gus Malzahn agreed to a new six year deal with Auburn on Friday. The Auburn Tigers are a team of destiny. That’s according to everybody, including ESPN’s Paul Finebaum. On Saturday, the radio personality stated that Auburn would beat the Denver Broncos. While we will never see that happen, Auburn does have a chance to beat the SEC East champion, Missouri Tigers in Atlanta.

According to Sportsline.com, Auburn is a slight favorite as both teams approach the SEC Championship game. There is a lot at stake for both teams, but it would be a tremendous blow to die hard SEC fans if Missouri coasted to a conference title in their second season.

The winner may have a claim to a shot at the national title.

Missouri vs. Auburn
When: Saturday December 7, 4:00 p.m.
Where: Georgia Dome
TV: CBS

Missouri

The Tigers have one loss, however, that game came with James Franklin sidelined with a collarbone injury. Still, that game was for Missouri’s taking until a meltdown in the fourth quarter against South Carolina. Other than that, these Tigers have been flawless in their pursuit of excellence.

Auburn

They have stared at the face of multiple losses throughout the season, only to escape with miraculous victories. Some of it has been luck, but a lot of their winning has come due to being prepared and a willingness to showcase their skill in the final moments. Auburn’s only loss came to LSU down in the Bayou.

The offenses

Missouri is almost completely balanced with the run and pass. They have tall receivers that can make plays all over the field. The receivers can catch the ball in space and maneuver over the middle. Still, it’s the running game that makes Missouri special. The Tigers have to control the line of scrimmage with a complete effort and big plays.

If you haven’t seen a Gus Malzahn offense, then you’re in for a treat. There’s a reason why Auburn inked a new deal with the head coach. Malzahn’s style is different and he is a genius with his play calling. While Auburn uses multiple formations, they still play power football at the point of attack. The Tigers also have an explosive option that Missouri must be ready for.

Unlike Missouri, Auburn is one dimensional, but they do use the passing game to get big plays. Georgia and Alabama know all about that.

The Defenses

Defensively, neither team gets much credit and there are reasons why. Missouri is not very good against the pass, and they are adequate facing the run. However, it’s their front seven that has the capability to disrupt Nick Marshall and the Auburn offense.

Whichever team creates havoc in the backfield will have the advantage in controlling the tempo. Missouri has to limit the Auburn five yard runs. Those are the plays that help generate the type of momentum that the SEC West champions want.

Auburn’s biggest problem should be the passing attack from Missouri. It’s a must that they limit the chunk plays early. Last week, they got in the face of A.J. McCarron, so the front four has to do the same to James Franklin.

The Verdict

The Auburn Tigers won three games last season and Missouri looked out of sorts with all of their injuries in their first SEC season. Now Both are ready to take the mantle as the “Top Tiger” in the conference. If Auburn was happy all week, then they’ll go home losers. There’s no reason to think that they won’t be prepared, however. All you can hope for is a game as fun as last year’s contest. Let’s see if Auburn can make another play in the final seconds.

Missouri 31
Auburn 30

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