Tag Archives: sec championship game

Missouri beats Arkansas to clinch second straight SEC East title

By Brandon Kiley, KBIA Sports 

Many experts didn’t believe Missouri could compete with the SEC in football. That seems silly now, after Missouri (10-2, 7-1) finished a drive late in the fourth quarter to take a 21-14 lead against Arkansas (6-6, 2-6).

For the second straight year, the SEC East division title came down to the final week of the season. Read more of this post

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Texas A&M is last obstacle in Mizzou’s path to championship

By The Associated Press

COLUMBIA — There’s one more hurdle to clear for No. 5 Missouri.

Beat No. 19 Texas A&M at home on Saturday and the Tigers, an SEC afterthought back in August, goes to the Southeastern Conference championship game.

Coach Gary Pinkel acknowledged on Monday that it’s a big deal.

“We’re excited about playing this game,” Pinkel said. “We worked real hard to get to this position. You know what, you compete for a championship, you’ve got to beat good people.”

Missouri (10-1, 6-1 SEC) must win to get to the Dec. 7 title game in Atlanta.

A loss would result in a tie for first place in the SEC East with South Carolina (9-2, 6-2), which would get the nod based on head-to-head competition.

Whatever happens, much has been accomplished.

“In any business, when you have adversity, that’s what you get judged by,” Pinkel said. “When things get really, really tough. We persevered. I’m really proud of our staff and our players. I shake my head, how they play and how they compete.”

There’s more to do. No one’s looking ahead to the title game or a BCS berth. It’s all about beating A&M (8-3, 4-3).

“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” guard Max Copeland said. “The bigger the stakes, the most fun it gets. We’re rock and rollers, all our chips are in, man. Let’s go!”

Offensive tackle Justin Britt wrinkled his nose at the notion it’s been a “satisfying” season after last year’s SEC debut disaster. The 5-7 finish complicated by numerous injuries ended a string of eight consecutive bowl games, and expectations were low.

“You use that word and you get complacent,” Britt said. “It’s felt real good. I’m happy and the team’s happy with what’s happened and we’re all just trying to reach our goals.”

The Tigers have stumbled just once, losing in overtime to South Carolina at home.

Early on they showed their mettle with a win at Georgia, the school’s first road victory over a Top 10 opponent since 1981, and they overcame another crowd, beating Ole Miss 24-10 on Saturday night.

School is out this week, but students will flock back to campus early to be there for A&M.

“It’ll be just nuts,” senior quarterback James Franklin said, “because it’s Senior Night and because of how we’ve been doing this year.

“The fans want to come for what’s on the line.”

The practice schedule will be altered somewhat so players have a chance to go home for Thanksgiving. No classes means more preparation time, too.

Not too much.

Pinkel said he used to get so wired on game day, especially for a night game.

“That’s just my intensity, that’s how I am,” the coach said. “This is fun, this is really fun competing for a championship. This is why you do it.”

Over the years, he’s learned to better harness those emotions. He’ll downplay the implications with players.

“I’m not going to talk about that much. It’s all clutter,” he said. “We call it the grind. Wake up Saturday and play your best game.”

During the Senior Night ceremony, Pinkel always sheds some tears and hands out hugs all around, and hopes everyone snaps back to attention and uses it as inspiration and not a distraction.

“I’m sure it’s going to be more than I’m expecting,” Franklin said. “Right now I don’t see it as being too emotional, but I’m pretty sure once it comes around it will be.

“It’ll be sad, it’s my last home game at Mizzou, but it’ll be exciting, too.”

No. 9 Mizzou in the driver’s seat in SEC East 


By The Associated Press

COLUMBIA — A surprise no more, No. 9 Missouri leads the SEC East with three games to go.

Win out and the Tigers (8-1, 4-1 SEC) will have come back all the way from last year’s 5-7 dud that prompted doubts about whether they or their coach belonged in their new league. Beat Kentucky, Ole Miss and No. 11 Texas A&M, and they earn a berth in the conference championship game.

“We’ve probably exceeded everybody else’s expectations, but with our expectations, we still haven’t accomplished what we want to accomplish yet,” cornerback Randy Ponder said. “We’ve still got to take each game like day one.”

Coach Gary Pinkel’s crew is a double-digit favorite this week at Kentucky and then there’s a week off, perhaps bonus time allowing quarterback James Franklin to return from a shoulder strain at full strength.

Pinkel warned players there’s little drop-off in the SEC, and they know better than to treat Kentucky (2-6) lightly. They were there a year ago.

“It doesn’t matter where they are in the conference,” said quarterback Maty Mauk, who’ll likely be making his fourth consecutive start. “They’re playing in the SEC. We know they’re going to be good. Maybe they don’t come out on top a lot of the time, but they’re a great team.”

No. 13 South Carolina (7-2, 5-2) and Georgia (5-3, 4-2) are lurking, each with two losses and hoping for another Missouri stumble that could set up a tiebreaker mess. The survivor of various scenarios likely earns the underdog role—make that a heavy underdog—in the SEC championship game, perhaps against No. 1 Alabama.

Based on head-to-head results and two teams tied for first at 6-2, South Carolina trumps Missouri and Missouri trumps Georgia.

Head-to-head competition would not decide a three-way tie, since South Carolina beat Missouri but lost to Georgia, and Missouri beat Georgia but lost to South Carolina. With a 2-1 finish, Missouri would prevail in the next tiebreaker based on division record – one loss vs. two each for Georgia and South Carolina.

Tennessee has lost to all of the SEC East contenders. The Volunteers lost 34-31 to Georgia in overtime at home, beat South Carolina 23-21 at home and lost 31-3 last week to the Tigers. So who’s best?

“I’d have to say Missouri, just them being the last ones we played,” Vols offensive tackle Ja’Wuan James said. “They had a great defensive line, a pretty good offense. I see Missouri doing good things in the East.”

The Crimson Tide are the two-time defending national champions and they’ve been No. 1 all year, on track for a fourth BCS championship game in five years. They’re the class of the conference that’s won seven consecutive BCS titles.

First things first. The teams chasing Missouri can’t fixate on what’s out of their control.

Georgia stayed alive by beating Florida last week and quarterback Aaron Murray said he’s taken just a peek at the various scenarios. The Bulldogs play Appalachian State this week, followed by Auburn and Kentucky.

“You can’t stress about, ‘We need them to lose, we need them to lose,'” Murray said. “That’s the crummy part of not being in control of our own destiny. But right now we’ve just got to take care of our own business and win the rest of our games and just hope and pray they lose, but don’t freak out and stress out about it because that’s going to affect us.”

South Carolina handed Missouri its lone loss in double-overtime at Columbia, Mo., rallying from a 17-point deficit in the fourth quarter. The cleanest route to the title game: Beat Florida at home in its league finale on Nov. 16 combined with losses by Missouri and Georgia. The Gamecocks are off this week and play at home next week against Florida.

“If we take care of business and it works out for us, then it does,” defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward said. “If it doesn’t, we did what we set out to do other than win all the SEC games.”

Perspective needed from Tiger fans after Baggett miss, Mizzou loss

By Darren Hellwege

darren hellwege logo

Darren Hellwege, Sports Commentator

That there would be a segment of Missouri fans in need of therapy after Saturday’s loss to South Carolina is small surprise. I’ve been around long enough to know that some Tiger partisans are so used to an assumption of negativity that the school’s fight song may have to be changed to “Gloom, Despair, and Agony On Me.”

Reactions last weekend ranged from the typical expressions of, “I knew they’d wreck it,” to some deeply nasty attacks on sophomore kicker Andrew Baggett, whose missed field goal at the end of the second overtime is being given way, way too much blame for this loss.

So, in the hopes of lifting spirits a little around these parts, I thought it useful to remind the Tiger faithful of a few things.

First of all, let’s remember that whatever happens this is still a very special season for Missouri football. The Tigers are Read more of this post

COMMENTARY: Missouri’s 2012 season didn’t live up to the hype, leaves many questions for 2013

By Joe Vozzelli

James Franklin throws

Quarterback James Franklin warms up before the Kentucky game in October. Offensive coordinator David Yost, left, and coach Gary Pinkel look on.

Missouri’s blowout loss to Texas A&M may sting more than any other defeat this season in the minds of Missouri fans.

Missouri didn’t have a chance in that game. Heisman hopeful Johnny Manziel had a highlight reel game, burning Missouri’s defense several times, giving Texas A&M a 42-0 lead before Missouri scored in the waning seconds of the first half.

Like Missouri, the Aggies are in their inaugural Southeastern Conference season. Missouri finished 5-7, wasn’t ranked all year and won’t go to a bowl — snapping a streak of seven straight bowl appearances. Texas A&M finished 10-2, is ranked No. 9 and might go to a BCS bowl game.

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