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A Letdown In The SEC Championship Game? It’s Possible, Auburn

SZ200_man-falling-off-ladderThis Saturday, third-ranked Auburn will battle Missouri for the Southeastern Conference championship.  A potential slot in the BCS Championship Game will also be at stake.  One prize and the path to another are on the line.

And Auburn had better work to avoid a letdown.

As silly as it sounds, Gus Malzahn will have his work cut out for him this week.  He can’t allow his Tigers to look past the other Tigers on the Georgia Dome field… and he can’t let them bask for too long in the glory of Saturday’s amazing Iron Bowl victory.  After “the Prayer at Jordan-Hare” won AU the Georgia game, the Tigers had a week off to get their heads on straight.  They also had the game of the year in the state of Alabama to focus upon.

Auburn’s players will hear a lot of talk about the BCS standings and the national title game this week.  They’ll likely say all the right things about Missouri, but for a teenager or a 21-year-old, it’ll be hard to ignore the bigger stage that sits just on the other side of the Mizzou and the SEC title game.

Hey, it’s happened before.

In 2001, Tennessee entered its annual grudge match with Florida as a 17-point underdog.  The game had been pushed to the end of the regular season after the 9/11 attacks.  When gametime rolled ’round, the Vols were looking for their first win in Gainesville in three decades.  And that’s exactly what they got.  UT knocked off the Gators 34-32 to position itself for a showdown with Miami in that year’s Rose Bowl, which served as the ’01 BCS title site.

One problem.  The Volunteers had to get over their Florida victory and then focus on LSU.  First things first, as they say.  But Nick Saban’s LSU squad — behind a backup quarterback — upset the flat-footed Vols 31-20 to capture Saban’s first SEC crown and knock Tennessee (and the SEC) right out of the national championship game.

If Malzahn’s smart, he’ll make sure his players know all about that game as Saturday approaches.

 

(SIDENOTE — Please, Missouri fans, stop looking for reasons to have your feelings hurt.  Auburn came off a miracle win in their most sacred game.  If Mizzou had won on such a miracle against the Tigers’ oldest rival — Kansas — we’d have written beware of a letdown for them, too.  Seeing as how MU fans are always looking for slights — even on sites that have championed their inclusion in the league — it’s doubtful their players will have any problems setting out to “prove” something on Saturday.  Please, enough with the emails.)

 


10 comments
Holtbru
Holtbru

Whoever is the better that day will WIN......  I feel like Mizzou and Auburn are pretty much even in their performances.....so as an Auburn Fan, I am abit worried, BUT HEY, little did I think we ( Auburn ) would get this far along this year......besides we got Georgia and Bama.....  I AM HAPPY !!

B

buddha22
buddha22

After "proving" themselves week in and week out I find it interesting you still get the "...let's see what they do in the championship game to be (triply) sure they are legit." What a joke, all the know-it-alls haven't seen this team in person or talked to the teams they've manhandled. Maybe the fact that most of the teams lose after they played MU might speak to their physicality. Simply put, I think MU would easily beat the buckeyes (as would Auburn) and it wouldn't be difficult. The B10 is a joke of a conference, perhaps tied with the ACC for 4th or 5th best conference. I remember the buckeyes whining about Boise and TCU "stealing" BCS spots because they "didn't play anyone" but now they stand behind the "we're undefeated in our sad conference..." We are going to a playoff that will supposedly require teams to schedule more aggressively. HA! What a joke. The sisters of the poor (B10/ACC/P12/B12/AAC) will annoint 4 "conference winners" period. Rather than build a schedule, this will set a land rush to look like the buckeyes schedule...oh and John, B10 wanted to go to 9 games because it helps their 1-2 decent squads look stronger gaining wins vs "BCS" quality competition. Until they go to 8 teams I think SEC fans will be sorely disappointed with our new playoff system...welcome to hell.

olmizzou23
olmizzou23

Ahh, the curse of being a Missouri alum and fan.  We're always looking for the perceived disrespect.  Hey, one of my first thoughts after the gun sounded on the A&M game last week was, "I hope Auburn is out of gas for next Saturday".  Coming out flat after such a huge game is a real possibility for Auburn AND Missouri both.  It wasn't a rivalry game like the Iron Bowl but winning an outright division title is a first (two previous Big 12 North titles were shared) and the chance for the first conference championship since 1969 is huge.

Love the site.  I admittedly am still trying to get into my alma mater being a part of the SEC but that may take awhile.  Maybe Arkansas or Tennessee will one day be a rival like Kansas was but I do miss that.  Meanwhile, M - I - Z !!!!!  SEC !!!!!!

CoreyH_KRES
CoreyH_KRES

I'm a Mizzou fan.  I have no issue with this article whatsoever John.  It's a point very well made, because Missouri is extremely capable of beating what I consider a very offensively one-dimensional Auburn team.  I know they'll run the ball, but I feel like AU is going to have to complete some passes to keep MU honest and open up the run game.  


Mizzou has their own letdown to avoid as well.  The program as a whole has been to this sort of point (conference title game), but the current group of players has not.  They need to realize, just as Auburn does, that there's an opponent on the other side, and there's potentially a LOT more to play for.


Good stuff.

Mike007
Mike007

I remember Mizzou beating Auburn 34-17 in the 1973 Sun Bowl.  Missouri has an outstanding record against SEC teams...really!

BayernTim
BayernTim

Hi John! Love the site, been a reader since beginning of last year. I actually love that Mizzou is under the radar for Saturday. I think it could be a big issue for Auburn in the 1st Half.

BayernTim
BayernTim

This article makes it sound like MIzzou is a non-ranked squad lucky to be in Atlanta. It is going to take more than Auburn being "mentally prepared" to beat Mizzou on Saturday. Mizzou is every bit as good as Auburn, and ranked # 5 in the country (in case you are not aware).

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

@BayernTim 

This article is directed at Auburn because they are coming a HUGE win over their hated rival.  Keep reading the site and you'll see that we believe Missouri fans should angry over the fact they're not even being mentioned as a BCS title contender.

Thanks for visiting the site,

John

Statesman
Statesman

@BayernTim Yelp, if it is not winning because the other team has injuries, now Mizzou will win only because Auburn was emotionally flat.  It does not matter that Mizzou's game was a must win to get to Atlanta the week before also.  Remember Mizzou  doesn't win, the other team loses.

A few other nuggets:

1) Mizzou may have a season like Miss.St., where they start the year winning due to a soft schedule, but get a lot of losses once conference play starts(John in Athlon's preseason's prediction)

2) The last coach to try that was Mark Richt and the Dawgs didn't do so well( John's comment on Pinkle eliminating 2-a-days and keeping the team healthy during preseason)

3) Mizzou getting to Atlanta is tough,...very tough(beating OL Miss & A&M, Auburn is a title contender(John's reasoning for not ranking Mizzou as a title -contender, but he ranked Auburn even though they had to play the number 1 team.

4) OL Miss offense is hot!  They're averaging 40 pts in last 4 games, (Did not mention 3 of those games were against Idaho, Troy & Arky)


M I Z.......Z O U



John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

@Statesman @BayernTim


Yeah, that was back in November... and Missouri had to play a road game at Ole Miss and Texas A&M.


And nothing above states that Missouri will only win because Auburn is emotionally flat, either, but if that's what the voices in your head tell you, so be it.


Can't wait to read your comments under my prediction that Missouri will win tomorrow.  Oh, wait.  I forgot... you won't comment under anything positive.  Your dementia won't even let you see that.  Only hidden barbs and insults that your special x-ray glasses reveal.


John

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