AUBURN, Ala. (CBSMiami) – After having their season saved on one of the most improbably finishes in college football history; the Auburn Tigers are just one win away from becoming the SEC Champion and possibly playing for the BCS Championship Game.
The fact that Auburn is in the position that it is in is nothing short of a sports miracle. Three weeks ago, the Tigers needed a Hail Mary miracle against the Georgia Bulldogs to keep their SEC hopes alive. The Tigers had its prayer answered in the “Miracle at Jordan Hare.”
Most teams would be happy with just one miracle, but the Tigers weren’t done. Auburn was tied with the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide last Saturday when Bama lined up for a 57-yard field goal attempt. What happened next will live in infamy in the storied history of the Iron Bowl.
But don’t assume Auburn has lucked into a spot in the SEC Championship Game; this is a good Auburn Tigers team.
Auburn ranks fourth in the SEC in scoring offense (38.6 points per game), first in the SEC in rushing offense (318.3 yards per game), and second in total offense (491 yards per game).
The Tigers’ lethal running game is sparked by running back Tre Mason and quarterback Nick Marshall. Combined, the duo has run for more than 2,000 yards and 28 touchdowns in 2013. Marshall, a converted safety, averages nearly 7 yards per rushing attempt while Mason averages almost 110 yards per game on the ground.
Auburn’s offense, when it gets rolling, can operate at a breakneck pace that keep opponents from making defensive substitutions to try and slow down the Tigers. Auburn averages less than 30 minutes per game in time of possession, but if you’re scoring at a high pace, time of possession means nothing.
While Auburn’s running game remains the strength of the team, the Tigers’ defense is no slouch either. Auburn allows just 22.5 points per game, good for fifth best in the SEC, but give up a total of 414.3 yards per game, third worst in the SEC.
However, many of those yards come because the Tigers are ahead and opponents are having to throw the ball to keep up with the Tigers.
Auburn’s run towards the SEC Championship is not complete. Auburn still has to play a top five Missouri team that is coming in with plenty of its own momentum after shutting down defending Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel last Saturday.
If Auburn is able to beat Missouri, a debate will ensue about who deserves to play for the BCS Championship. Auburn’s claim will be based on the SEC being the toughest football conference and being the champion of said conference with just one loss.
Auburn can also claim a much tougher schedule than Ohio State, with four opponents currently ranked in the BCS Top 25 including Georgia, LSU, Texas A&M, and previously undefeated Alabama. Ohio State has just one opponent currently in the Top 25, Wisconsin.
Ohio State is no lock for being ranked second at the end of the day. The Buckeyes still have to win the Big Ten Championship Game on Saturday by knocking off the Michigan State Spartans.
As of Monday, if Auburn can take care of Missouri and Ohio State beats Michigan State, the argument will ensue as to which team deserves to go to Pasadena and the BCS Championship. Who will win that argument will be decided by the coaches and computers of the BCS.