Rivalry Week Spotlight Games
No. 1 Alabama (11-0, 7-0 SEC) at No. 4 Auburn (10-1, 6-1 SEC)
Alabama leads series 41-29-1 (Last Meeting November 24, 2012: Alabama 49, Auburn 0)
Alabama travels to Auburn for an Iron Bowl matchup between top five teams with the winner claiming the SEC West title and a trip to the SEC Championship game. The Crimson Tide enter as the nation’s stingiest defense, allowing only 9.3 points per game, but Auburn ranks second nationally in rushing yards, compiling over 320 yards per outing. Tigers running back Tre Mason leads the SEC with 1,153 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns. Alabama has won the last two matchups against Auburn as well as the last two meetings on the road, with the only loss in the past five years coming in Auburn’s perfect 2010 season. The teams have combined to win the past four national championships.
An Alabama win means… the Crimson Tide continue on to the SEC Championship Game with their sights set on Pasadena. Auburn would sit back and wait for the results in Atlanta to see if they’ve made a strong enough case for a BCS appearance.
An Auburn win means… the Tigers head to Atlanta as SEC West champions, with a chance to play their way into the national championship game. Alabama would drop from the #1 spot in BCS standings (setting up a possible Florida State/Ohio State title game). The Tide would have to hope for a BCS at-large berth, with an Auburn/Missouri or Auburn/South Carolina showdown in the SEC championship game having a major ripple effect throughout the BCS bowl order.
No. 21 Texas A&M (8-3, 4-3 SEC) at No. 5 Missouri (10-1, 6-1 SEC)
Texas A&M leads series 8-5 (Last Meeting November 24, 2012: Texas A&M 59, Missouri 29)
Missouri hosts Texas A&M on Saturday night in the final SEC game of the regular season. Missouri earned a big road win last weekend, defeating Ole Miss, 24-10, in QB James Franklin’s return following his injury. The Tigers have won three-straight SEC games since falling at home to South Carolina, while Texas A&M’s three-game winning streak was snapped in a road loss at LSU this past weekend. Aggies QB Johnny Manziel leads the SEC by a wide margin in passing yards per game with 321.5. The former Big 12 foes have met at Texas A&M each of the past three seasons and last played at Missouri in 2007.
A Texas A&M win means…the Aggies gain some ground in bowl positioning while Missouri would drop to 6-2 in the conference and lose the SEC East division crown to South Carolina.
A Missouri win means…the Tigers punch their ticket to the SEC Championship Game and a maintain a top-5 BCS ranking. The Aggies would drop to 8-4 and likely be out of contention for the Capital One Bowl.
No. 6 Clemson (10-1, 7-1 ACC) at No. 10 South Carolina (9-2, 6-2 SEC)
Clemson leads series 61-40-4 (Last Meeting November 24, 2012: South Carolina 27, Clemson 17)
South Carolina seeks its fifth straight win over in-state rival Clemson as the teams meet as top-10 opponents for the first time in series history. Both teams are in the hunt for BCS bids and the Gamecocks could still sneak into the SEC Championship game with a Missouri loss. Clemson features the better passing attack led by QB Tajh Boyd’s 3,248 yards and 29 passing touchdowns, but South Carolina features RB Mike Davis, who leads the SEC in rushing yards per game with 111.2. QB Connor Shaw did not play against Clemson last season due to injury, but tossed for 210 yards and three touchdowns at home against the Tigers in 2011 after taking over the starting role midway through the season.
A Clemson win means…the Tigers finish 11-1 and in the Top 10, all but guaranteeing a BCS berth. South Carolina could drop out of the Top-10 but would remain among teams in consideration for the Capital One Bowl.
A South Carolina win means…the Gamecocks make their case for a BCS at-large berth regardless of the status of the SEC East. The Tigers run the risk of dropping from BCS at-large consideration, which could impact the Russell Athletic Bowl’s options.
Minnesota (8-3, 4-3 Big Ten) at No. 11 Michigan State (10-1, 7-0 Big Ten)
Michigan State leads series 28-17 (Last Meeting November 24, 2012: Michigan State 26, Minnesota 10)
Legends Division champion Michigan State hosts Minnesota on Senior Day in East Lansing. The Golden Gophers had their four-game winning streak snapped in a 20-7 home loss to Wisconsin last weekend, but with a win, they can still clinch their first nine-win season since 2003. Michigan State cruised to a 30-6 win at Northwestern to clinch a berth in the Big Ten Championship game against Ohio State. Michigan State remains atop the Big Ten in scoring defense (12.5 ppg) and total defense (236.6 ypg). The Spartans have won seven straight games and are seeking their first four-game winning streak over Minnesota since winning 17 in a row from 1977 to 1997.
A Minnesota win means…the Gophers keep their New Year’s Day bowl hopes alive. Michigan State still wins the division and heads to the Big Ten Championship Game, but would likely need to defeat Ohio State to make a BCS appearance.
A Michigan State win means…the Spartans head to Indianapolis with an 11-1 record and a possible top-10 ranking, and could head to a BCS game regardless of the championship game outcome. The Gophers would be eliminated from Capital One Bowl consideration by virtue of record unless Wisconsin also loses.