SEC Game of Interest (Championship Week)

Mike Zarrilli

You'll never believe which game we picked this week.

The last week of the regular season wasn't any kinder to us than any of the preceding weeks. We whiffed on both of our picks (Alabama (-10.5) over Auburn and Clemson (+5) over South Carolina). We're now 13-12 with only one SEC Game of Interest left, the Championship Game: Mizzou v. Auburn (-2) in the Georgia Dome.

The pick: Auburn -2

Why you should care: It's literally the only SEC game being played.

Rationale: You have no idea how badly I wanted to pick Mizzou here. Their fans are better. Their coach isn't a turncoat. They're not f@#$%ng Auburn. So I checked out the usual stats. As you can probably imagine, the WarTiglesMen are slightly better on offense, but the conference's newest Tigers appear to be stronger on defense. This seemed pretty promising, but I was a little worried about the fact that Auburn played a stronger schedule than Missouri and how that might affect their relative stats.

Fortunately, these two teams have played five common opponents -- Arkansas State, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas A&M, and Ole Miss -- so we ought to be able to get a better sense of how they fared against the same type of competition. Both teams are undefeated against their common opponents. Auburn won by an average of 15.6 points per game, and Mizzou was slightly better with an average MOV of 17.2. But as you'd expect, Auburn scored more points against 4 of 5 common opponents, while Mizzou allowed fewer points against 4 of 5. (Arkansas State was the outlier in each instance.) In terms of offense, Auburn rushed for more yards per play against 4 of 5 opponents (all but AK State) and passed for more yards per play against 3 of 5 opponents (Wolves, Dawgs, Aggies). But on defense, Mizzou only allowed fewer rushing yards per play against two opponents (Arkansas State and Tennessee) and held only 3 opponents to fewer yards per pass (Dawgs, Aggies, and Rebels).

In other words, it looks to me like the WarTiglesMen are better on offense than the Tigers are better on defense. I think it's just those lucky Suckers in Orange and Blue's year. If you see Gus Malzahn at a craps table, get in there and put down everything you've got. I guess the bright side to all of this is that, even if they win, they will either (a) get left out of the final BCS Championship Game (probable) or (b) screw Urban Meyer and tOSU out of a spot in the game. So we've got that going for us. Which is nice.

Sigh.

Go Dawgs!

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