Big Ten and SEC Championship Game Previews
Big Ten Championship: No. 2 Ohio State (12-0, 8-0 Big Ten) at No. 10 Michigan State (11-1, 8-0 Big Ten)
Ohio State leads series 28-12 (Last meeting September 29, 2012: Ohio State 17, Michigan State 16)
Big Ten football gets the big time spotlight on Saturday night as two top ten conference foes face each other for the Big Ten Championship. For Michigan State, they can clinch a spot in a BCS game just one year after going 6-6, while the Buckeyes look for their 25th-straight victory and a possible spot in the BCS National Championship game. Both teams made it though their conference slates unscathed, led by two stellar running backs. Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde leads the Big Ten with 143.3 rushing yards per game, while Spartans running back Jeremy Langford has found the end zone a Big Ten-best 16 times. Michigan State and Ohio State rank first and second, respectively, in rushing defense as neither squad allows more than 100 rushing yards per game. The Spartans defense particularly has dominated the Big Ten, as its ranks first in points allowed and total defense.
Michigan State makes its second appearance in three years in the Big Ten Championship game, falling to Wisconsin in 2011. Ohio State makes its first appearance in the championship game after being ineligible last season.
SEC Championship: No. 5 Missouri (11-1, 7-1 SEC) at No. 3 Auburn (11-1, 7-1 SEC)
Missouri leads series 1-0 (Last meeting December 29, 1973 in Sun Bowl: Missouri 34, Auburn 17)
Missouri and Auburn look to continue their dream seasons as they meet in Atlanta for the SEC Championship game. Few predicted this matchup after the teams combined for eight wins last season. This year, Missouri and Auburn are a combined 22-2, falling only to South Carolina in overtime and on the road at LSU, respectively.
Auburn won its second-straight game in miracle fashion against Alabama, returning a missed field goal for a touchdown as time expired to win the Iron Bowl, 38-24. Missouri meanwhile beat its second-straight ranked opponent in Texas A&M to clinch the SEC East in just its second season in the conference. Both sets of Tigers have found success on the ground as Auburn leads the SEC with 318 rushing yards per game, while Missouri ranks second with 237 yards per contest. Auburn is led by quarterback Nick Marshall’s 1,627 passing yards, 922 rushing yards and 21 total touchdowns.
Missouri quarterback James Franklin tossed for 233 yards and two touchdowns against Texas A&M in his second game back following an injury that caused him to miss four games, including the loss to South Carolina.