Despite the whole country being sick and tired of SEC teams making their way into the national championship game, the best conference in college football is sending another team to try and win the BCS, with Auburn proving they deserve every accolade and other trophy they might win, beating Missour in the conference title game, while Tre Mason set a number of individual records to cap off an exceptional 2013.
When Auburn play again, it’ll be 2014, but they’re hoping that the magic from this season – from Gus Malzahn completely turning the fortunes of the program around to their magical finish in the Iron Bowl, the game that has sent its winner to win the national title since 2009, to Tre Mason’s dominant running performance in Atlanta against a stubborn Missouri team, will carry with them when they face Florida State.
Why them and not Michigan State or Baylor? Tre Mason said after the game that numbers don’t lie, and eventually, it’ll come down to numbers. Auburn were the highest ranked one-loss team behind Florida State and Ohio State. Now that the Buckeyes have lost, it’s only natural to see Auburn move another spot up the rankings. The computers, the voters – they’ll give them the numerical edge, even though the finish to this season was perfect for a four-team playoff, with Florida State and three one-loss teams competing for the title.
Missouri were in the lead or right up with Auburn during the first half, but at some point, their defense was getting tired from fighting against an excellent offensive line, while James Franklin simply stopped making plays. Auburn forgot about passing – Nick Marshall threw the ball only 11 times, including one pass for a touchdown. The rest was about giving Mason the ball and getting out of his way. He rumbled for 304 yards on 46 carries, scoring four touchdowns. Auburn as a team rushed for 545 yards, scoring 7 touchdowns.
Records? Mason set new SEC title game records for rushing yards, rushing attempts, scrimmage yards, all-purpose yards and touchdowns. The team’s total was also a new SEC title game record, while Cody Parkey set two himself – most point after attempts and hits (8-of-8) and the longest field goal, hitting one from 52 yards. There wasn’t anything too sophisticated in the 59-42 win; simply a team that does one thing very well and wouldn’t let anything stray them off their path.
The end of the game was a bit of politicking, although it’s hard to see how Auburn don’t make the BCS championship game – voters love the SEC, and that should be enough to put them there with Florida State. It didn’t stop players and coaches from putting a few last words of encouragement for the voting public in order to make sure no “mistake” will keep Auburn out of the game.
We won the SEC championship. What else do you want us to do? We feel like we beat the best teams. We feel like we deserve to be in the game. We’re playing our best football right now. I don’t know if any other team can say that.