No. 5 Missouri vs. No. 3 Auburn
Auburn needs to hit the ground running (and passing) if they want to win this SEC Championship and have a chance at the BCS National Championship. Despite engineering the biggest turnaround in SEC history and gaining immense confidence after beating Alabama, Auburn may be at a disadvantage. Missouri’s defense leads the SEC in sacks and interceptions and exhausts offenses. Auburn’s miracle-producing offense will either have to hope for another one, or hold onto an early lead. Missouri also holds the advantage at quarterback with senior James Franklin, who has completed 66.9 percent of his passes for 16 touchdowns and just four interceptions, compared to Nick Marshall’s 59.2 completion percentage with 11 touchdowns and five interceptions.
No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 10 Michigan State
Ohio State has been a hot topic in the Big 10 all season and now is the favorite to win the conference’s title game. The Buckeyes are 24-0 since Urban Meyer took over as head coach. History only further emphasizes Ohio State’s dominance. The Spartans have suffered a loss in eight out of their last nine meetings with the Buckeyes. But this game against Michigan State is more than just a formality on the Buckeyes’ journey to the BCS National Championship. The Spartans boast the best defense in the nation, made up mostly of future NFL Draft picks, which has led them to their impressive 11-1 record. Expect this game to come down to who has the final possession.
No. 18 Oklahoma vs. No. 6 Oklahoma State
Despite having a bye last week, Oklahoma State has some serious momentum after demolishing Baylor the previous week. The Cowboys’ recent performance makes it seem almost impossible that their one loss could have come from such a mediocre West Virginia team. A win here would improve the Cowboys’ record to 11-1, a record good enough to get into BCS title game contention. But Oklahoma is determined to not let that happen. The Sooners quarterbacks have been inconsistent but they boast the nation’s No. 15 rushing attack, which is sure to present a challenge for the Cowboy defense.
No. 7 Stanford vs. No. 11 Arizona State
Even with one of the top quarterbacks in the nation in Taylor Kelly, Arizona State is the underdog coming into this game. But the Sun Devils have surpassed expectations before as their current record of 8-1 in conference play and 10-2 overall has exceeded what many anticipated for their season. If you had asked which teams would be playing for the Pac-12 title at the beginning of the season, Arizona State likely wouldn’t have made that list. But here it is, and if the Sun Devils win here they will make their first Rose Bowl appearance since 1997. But Stanford isn’t going down easily. Although Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan’s stat sheet may not impress, he is one of the best game-managers and leaders in the conference and is looking to guide his team to another win.