SEC Championship: The Edge in 5 Positional Battles
The Edge in 5 Positional Battles: SEC Championship
Two turnarounds, two division champions, but only one winner. The SEC Championship game features two 1-loss teams that are vying for a chance to play in the BCS National Championship. This game marks the first time these two teams will meet as members of the SEC, but only one will prevail in the battle of the Tigers.
The Auburn Tigers come into this game off one of the greatest wins in program history and look to continue a storybook season. The win over archrival Alabama featured the greatest ending in college football history and caused pandemonium on the plains, but can Auburn avoid the let down after such a big win? Auburn possesses one of the most potent offenses in the country, but can the offense continue to roll against a good Missouri defense? Auburn's defense has been suspect at times this season, but will they step up and stop the dual-threat quarterback of Missouri?
The Missouri Tigers come into the game off an impressive victory over Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M. Missouri held Manziel to under 200 yards passing, but the Tigers did give up 184 yards on the ground. If Missouri is unable to stop Auburn's rushing attack, this game could get ugly fast. Missouri's offense revolves around senior quarterback James Franklin, but will he perform in the biggest game of his career? Missouri can be seen as a fraud since the Tigers have played a weak schedule, but a win against Auburn will prove the Tigers are worthy of a place in the national championship.
The winner of this game is going to Pasadena for the national championship, but the loser of this game will fall out of contention for a BCS berth.
Let's analyze the different positional battles that will go a long way in determining the outcome of the game.
Greg Douglas is a college football writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on twitter @thegpd93 or add him to your network on Google.
The Quarterback Battle
The quarterback battle features two dual-threat quarterbacks, but which one will have the greater impact on the game?
Nick Marshall accounted for 196 total yards and three touchdowns in the win over Alabama. In the face of pressure, Marshall led a drive that tied the game late against Alabama. Marshall's confidence is at an all time high as he looks to lead Auburn to a national championship berth.
James Franklin has 2,364 total yards and 19 touchdowns this season. Franklin has a tendency to disappear in big games, but his ability to escape from the pocket should worry Auburn supporters. Franklin faces a defense that is not a stranger to blowing coverages, but can he take advantage and lead his team to victory?
Edge: Auburn (Nick Marshall). Marshall has become one of the best quarterbacks in the country, and his confidence is through the roof.
The Running Back Battle
The running back battle features two stables of backs who can break a big run on any play.
Tre Mason has rushed for 1,317 yards and 18 touchdowns this season. Corey Grant and Cameron Artis-Payne have a combined 1,158 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns this season. Auburn ranks 5th in the country in rushing yards per game with 318.
Missouri has three backs who are over 500 yards rushing this season. Henry Josey leads the team with 13 rushing touchdowns this season, but will he have success against Auburn's strong defensive line?
Edge: Auburn. Auburn ran through the best defense in the country last week and Missouri is no Alabama.
The Wide Receiver Battle
This game features several undervalued playmakers and one of the best receivers in the country.
Sammie Coates is averaging 23.3 yards per reception this season. He has 747 receiving yards and six touchdowns this season, but can he keep up his astronomical average?
Dorial Green-Beckham is one of the best receivers in the country, and he does not even lead his team in receiving yards. L'Damian Washington and Green-Beckham have combined for 1,510 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns this season. These two dominant receivers face a defense that got torched through the air last week.
Edge: Missouri. Missouri's receivers will take advantage of a vulnerable secondary.
The Defensive Battle
The defensive battle features two decent defenses that both like to force turnovers.
Auburn's defense ranks 31st in points against this season. Although the Tigers gave up big plays to Alabama, Auburn did manage to stop the Tide at critical points in the game.
Missouri's defense ranks 14th in points against this season. Michael Sam has caused fits for opposing offenses all season, but can the defense stop Auburn's vaunted rushing attack?
Edge: Missouri. While Auburn's secondary is porous, Missouri's defense is solid across the board.
The Special Teams Battle
The Special teams battle features electrifying returners.
Cody Parkey is one of the most clutch kickers in the country. Chris Davis and Quan Bray are deadly when returning kicks, and have the ability to break the big one at any time.
Missouri's kicker Andrew Baggett is 14-21 kicking field goals this year. Baggett already choked on the big stage in the South Carolina game when a kick to extend the game hit off the upright.
Edge: Auburn. After what happened in the Iron Bowl, how can anyone rationalize picking against Auburn's special teams.
Auburn wins by 20.
Missouri illustrates that the team has been a fraud all year by getting destroyed by the SEC West champs. Auburn proves worthy of a title shot with a statement win.