WHEN: Saturday, December 7 at 3 p.m. CST
WHERE: Georgia Dome (74,228) Atlanta, Ga.
TV: CBS (national) Verne Lundquist – play-by-play, Gary Danielson – analyst, Tracy Wolfson – sideline
SERIES: Missouri leads 1-0
COACHES: Gus Malzahn, Auburn 11-1 (1st year), overall 19-4 (2nd year) Gary Pinkel, Missouri 101-62 (13th year) overall 174-99-3 (23rd year)
The Missouri Tigers have played their way into historic territory as they are gearing up to play against the Auburn Tigers for the SEC Championship. Mizzou beat Texas A&M this past Saturday to secure an SEC East division title, while Auburn beat Alabama to secure the West. It will only be the second time in history that the two schools will play against each other. Mizzou claimed the first meeting in 1973 at the Sun Bowl.
Lost in much of this excitement, and what would be a focal point if the SEC Championship Game weren’t stealing the spotlight, is the fact that Mizzou head football coach Gary Pinkel tied legendary coach Don Faurot at 101 Mizzou wins with his last victory over Texas A&M. A win on Saturday would not only give Mizzou its first outright conference title since 1960, but it would also set him apart as the all-time leader in Tiger coaching victories.
A win on Saturday would also give Mizzou its second ever 12-win season. The last time that happened was the 2007 season.
The game on Saturday is quite an achievement for many reasons. Both teams come in off of an incredible turn-around from last year. Mizzou was picked to finish sixth in the seven-team SEC East in the preseason after their 5-7 record from a year ago. Pinkel has now won a conference divisional title in four of the last seven seasons (2007, 2008, 2010 Big 12 North).
Getting a win away from The ZOU is an attainable task for Mizzou as they completed the 2013 campaign with a 5-0 record away from Columbia, undefeated on the road for the first time since the 1979 season.
Mizzou also brings an impressive streak with them down to Atlanta as they have forced a turnover in 42 consecutive games, leading the FBS. Missouri is 27-15 during this stretch and 15-5 when they win the turnover margin.
The team heads down to Atlanta healthy, confident and playing above average in almost every aspect of the game. Statistically speaking, they are nearly equal to Auburn in several departments, but one that sticks out is the turnover margin where Auburn is +1 compared to +15 on the season for Mizzou.
And if you want to talk about being well-rounded, Mizzou is only one of four teams who rank in the top-15 on both offensive and defensive scoring average (38.8/19.4).
There’s no doubt that this season has been one for Mizzou Tiger fans to cherish and remember forever, but it’s not done yet. If you can’t make it down to the Georgia Dome in Atlanta for this historic contest, you can catch it on CBS at 3 p.m. CST and on the radio statewide via the Tiger Network.