The #3 Auburn Tigers and the #5 Missouri Tigers are set to play in the SEC Championship Game Saturday inside the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
Auburn had a worst-to-first year after going winning-less in the SEC in 2012 and only winning three games overall. One year later, an 11-1 record sits them atop of the SEC West standings.
Auburn’s trip to the championship game was booked last Saturday, after the Tigers took down the former undefeated and consensus number one Alabama Crimson Tide in one of the most thrilling Iron Bowls in recent years.
For Missouri, the trip to Atlanta will be the first in its history as this year only marks their second season as a member of the Southeastern Conference. Improving from a 5-7 overall record and two conference wins in 2012, Mizzou finished the regular season with an 11-1 record and seven conference victories.
Missouri’s coach Gary Pinkel says that his team is focused on the same thing they have been all year long: themselves.
Pinkel also says he knows the pressure and magnitude this game entitles, but it will all come down to his team handling it and being able to play their best.
On the other hand, Auburn’s coach Gus Malzhan comments that after a stormy 2012 season. this year was all about getting the Tigers’ edge back.
He also says that both Auburn and Mizzou are teams that have improved as the season has progressed; something not many teams are able to accomplish and something that will present a challenge on Saturday.
- Both Mizzou and Auburn are averaging similar numbers on the offensive side of the ball. With their points per game and yards per game being 38.8 vs. 38.6 and 489.6 vs. 491.2, respectively.
- On the defensive side, Auburn’s secondary is allowing 22.5 ppg, while Missouri is limiting opponents to only 19.4 ppg.
- These teams have met only once before. In the 1973 Sun Bowl where Missouri beat Auburn 34-17.
- Missouri leads the SEC with a +15 turnover margin. No other team has a margin higher than +11.
- The winner on Saturday will become the first team since Tennessee in 1989 to win (or share) the SEC championship after having an overall losing record the previous season.
Kickoff is set for CBS.