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Aaron Schulman
Posts: 62
Takes score: 548
Followers: 10
Picks: 0%

Missouri vs. Auburn

12/07/2013 7:37pm
last edited:12/09/2013 3:14am

Missouri (-1) vs. Auburn

Today's SEC Championship Game features a pair of teams few expected to be here.  There are a few matchup keys that I feel gives this game some value though.

Firstly, we have a lower ranked team favored on a neutral field over a higher ranked team who just defeated the country's best team, Alabama.  This is an obvious red flag for me which makes me think there is some real traction to the matchup keys.

Missouri features one of the country's most explosive, consistent, and balanced offenses averaging 237 ypg on the ground and 253 ypg through the air.  The strength is the ground game which features a trio of running backs Henry Josey, Russell Hansbrough, and Marcus Murphy who all over 6 ypc, plus dual-threat quarterback James Franklin who added 412 rushing yards on the year despite missing a handful of games.  The rushing game alone is a handful for defenses to stop, but what makes the offense truly deadly is its versatility and explosiveness in the passing game with another trio of stars L'Damian Washington, Dorial Green-Beckham, and Marcus Lucas who receive equal amounts of attention with each catching between 44 and 50 passes.  All 3 receivers are 6'-4" or taller, fast, and physical, and there is no game plan that can be devised to defend them as well as the rushing game.  It didn't matter which quarterback played for Missouri with James Franklin setting career highs in every rate metric including completion percentage, yards per completion, and yards per attempt with a 16:4 TD:INT.  Even Freshman QB Maty Mauk was able to put up fine numbers in the 4 games which Franklin missed.  The Auburn defense allows over 400 ypg (159 ypg rushing and 256 ypg passing), causes few turnovers, generates only moderate pressure up front, yet somehow are 31st in the country in ppg allowed with 22.5.  They feature few standout defenders, and similarly balanced and effective offenses were able to torch them this year with LSU scoring 35, Georgia scoring 38, and Texas A&M scoring 41.  Alabama also churned out 495 yards and if not for the kicking game fiasco last week we would not even be having this discussion.

To be fair to Auburn, they have had an incredible season.  Going 11-1 in the SEC is no small feat, and it is led by their rushing game which has 318 ypg and 6.3 ypc, and they pound the ball for all 60 minutes rushing it 70% of the time.  The passing game leaves a bit to be desired but it has shown an ability to create big plays.  Unfortunately the strength of the Missouri defense is on the defensive front where they are stout against the run (119 ypg and 3.6 ypc which rank 14th and 23rd in the nation) and generate tons of pressure with just over 3 sacks a game which ranks 6th nationally.  Their edge players in particular are the stars led by Michael Sam, Markus Golden, Kony Ealy, and Shane Ray.  These guys are terrific at getting after the quarterback as well as playing consistently in the offensive backfield which has generated 37 sacks and 95 TFL on the season.  The weakness is in the defensive backfield, but an offense such as Auburn's that does not possess the ability to exploit it should give the Missouri defensive players stars an enormous opportunity to affect the outcome of the game

Auburn has been lucky to escape their past 2 games with extraordinary victories over Georgia and Alabama, but I feel their luck will run out today.  There is too much star power on the Missouri side of the ball for them to pull another trick out of their hat, and I believe Missouri will win their first SEC championship today.

2 comments

Wade Geraci
Posts: 50
Takes score: 2393
Picks: 48.1%
12/08/2013 3:17pm

Apparently there is no line-generating model that expects a team to rush 545 yards against a quality defense!!!  

However, as I've said time and time again, the BCS has once again done a tremendous job. Everything worked itself out. The SEC gets to defend its streak with a team that beat the No. 1 team and defending champ. And they're playing the most talented non-SEC team in a decade. Very excited for this one.

Aaron Schulman
Posts: 62
Takes score: 8590
Picks: 0%
12/09/2013 10:53pm

Auburn are playing like a bunch of f*cking maniacs right now.  I watched them a couple times earlier in the year get outgained by a non BCS school, have to score late to beat Mississippi State, and get crushed by LSU.  But this team right now is insane.

I think in the bowl games we are going to see some crooked numbers.  There has been a knock on the SEC for not playing defense like it has in the past but I think it's because there are some truly outstanding offenses that nobody will be able to stop.

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