Alabama’s Heisman trophy nominee WR Amari Cooper hopes to repeat his sensational Iron Bowl performance with an SEC title win over Mizzou.
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The #1 Alabama Crimson Tide takes on the #16 Missouri Tigers in the SEC Championship game to determine the 2014 Southeastern Conference Champion.
Since 2008 Alabama has won the SEC West title 5 times, winning the whole thing twice – and in both of those cases winning the National Championship game. Missouri on the other hand is in their second consecutive SEC Championship game but lost last year’s badly to Auburn – and this year’s game doesn’t look any easier for the Tigers.
Living in the shadows of Auburn, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Florida State for most of the season, the Crimson Tide emerged as the No. 1 team in the country after beating Mississippi State just a few weeks ago, and clinched the SEC West title last week in an Iron Bowl win over their hated rival Auburn Tigers. The key to Alabama has been, as always, a dominant defense, but this year has been aided heavily by leading receiver Amari Cooper – a Heisman trophy candidate and possible 1st-round NFL draft selection – and the efficient play of QB Blake Sims. While head coach Nick Saban almost benched Sims for poor performance in the Iron Bowl, he restrained himself and saw Sims drop 55 points on Auburn – the most by any Alabama offense in Iron Bowl history.
Missouri was written off in early October after losing two out of three games to #13 Georgia and Indiana – both at home. But the Tigers came back into the fold with a six-game winning streak just as the Georgia Bulldogs lost star RB Todd Gurley, allowing them to pull the SEC East title out from under Georgia and clinching the title last week. QB Maty Mauk has been effective enough to get wins with 22 TDs versus only 11 INTs, but the team has lacked firepower at times, only scoring 30 points or more five times this season – and three of those performances were against non-SEC teams. Missouri will have to play the best game of their entire season to push back the Tide.
Prediction: Alabama – The Tide will roll in this one. Despite Missouri’s impressive record, the quality of wins just isn’t there to the point where they have a chance to win this game. The team is 2-1 against ranked teams this season and those two wins came by a grand total of 8 points. And in eight games against SEC teams the Tigers have only two games with more than 30 points. After Alabama’s dominating offensive performance against Auburn, there’s just no way to give Missouri the benefit of the doubt.