Missouri and Auburn, two teams that finished with losing records in 2012, will meet Saturday afternoon in an SEC Championship matchup (4 p.m. ET, CBS) that no one thought possible prior to the season. Both teams posted losing records in SEC play last year before rocketing to 7-1 marks and division titles this year.
For Auburn, a coaching change and a little good fortune have made all the difference. The team improved to some degree on both sides of the ball, but moreso on the offensive side, where Gus Malzahn remodeled the Auburn Tigers around a potent ground-based attack. Auburn is averaging more than 318 rushing yards per game on 6.3 yards per carry, and few opponents -- not even Alabama -- have been able to slow them down.
That's the challenge ahead for Mizzou, which has done a pretty good job of limiting opposing ground games. And Missouri has proven capable of slowing down potent offensive units.
Rankings and records: Both Auburn and Missouri are 11-1 (7-1) this season. Auburn is ranked third in the BCS standings and both major polls, while Mizzou is fifth in the BCS and both major polls. Missouri won the only previous meeting between the two teams 34-17, but that was in 1973.
Vegas: Missouri opened as a two-point favorite, though the line has since flipped to Auburn by two. The over/under is holding strong at 58.
Weather: The temperature inside the Georgia Dome should be a comfortable 72 degrees.
Three names to know
Nick Marshall -- Auburn doesn't ask Marshall to throw the ball a lot, but he's been solid in that area. He's a serious threat running the football; his 922 rushing yards rank second on the team, and he's averaging 6.6 yards per carry.
James Franklin -- Multiple years of starting experience paid dividends for Franklin, who is having the finest year of his career (a year that, unfortunately, included an injury that forced him to miss several games.) He is completing 66.9 percent of his passes and has thrown just four interceptions in 242 attempts.
Tre Mason -- Mason leads the SEC in carries (237), rushing yards (1,317) and rushing scores (18). He's gone for more than 100 yards in seven games, including each of his last four.
Two things at stake
Since both teams are in the top five of the BCS standings, the winner of the game might ultimately find itself in the BCS Championship. In all likelihood, the winner will need some help in the form of a loss by Florida State (BCS No. 1) or Ohio State (No. 2), though.
Auburn can pick up its first SEC title since 2010, while Mizzou can win its first league title in just its second year of SEC play.
How to witness
TV: CBS, 4 p.m. ET (Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson, Tracy Wolfson)
Online streaming: CBS SEC Live