What to watch for: SEC Championship preview
1:46 | College Football
What to watch for: SEC Championship preview
Thursday December 4th, 2014

It might not be the classic matchup of 2012, a game that featured No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 Georgia, but when No. 1 Alabama takes on No. 16 Missouri on Saturday, it’s still the SEC Championship Game. Now, if you aren’t a fan of Alabama or Missouri, you’re probably just hoping for another exciting game that goes down to the wire. But if you’re looking for a side to pull for on Saturday, if you want to have a stake in a school, here’s your guide to picking that team.

The underdog

Jamie Squire/Getty

Sure, it’s an overused method to picking a team, but that doesn’t make it a bad method. If you’re a fan who likes to pull for the underdog, this game presents a clear choice: Missouri.

For starters, it’s been five years since Alabama hasn’t been favored in a game. That won’t change this week — Alabama is currently favored by 14.5 points. The Tide is also the favorite to win the first ever College Football Playoff.

If you like rooting for underdogs, Missouri is your team.


Screenshot via Google

The University of Missouri — located in Columbia — and the University of Alabama — located in Tuscaloosa — are separated by 574 miles. It’d take about 190 hours of walking or 9.5 hours of driving to get from one school to the other.

This one’s pretty simple, if…

• You live in the northern half of the country, Missouri is your team.
• You live in the southern half, go for Alabama.
• You live on the east coast, Alabama is farther east.
• You live on the west coast, Missouri is farther west.

If size matters

Kevin C. Cox/Getty

If size does matter to you, here’s what you need to know:

The average weight of Missouri’s roster is roughly 230 pounds. The average weight of Alabama’s is about 242 pounds.

Your team in this fight? Alabama, by about 12 pounds.


Maybe you’re not into football at all. Maybe you want to pick a team based on academics. If you were to look up each school’s acceptance rate, you’d see that Alabama’s is 56.55% and Missouri’s is 78.61%, according to U.S. News.

Now, if you want to dig deeper to see the intersection of academics and football, take a look at the NCAA’s 2014 GSR Report, which measures the graduation success rates of collegiate athletes. Here's a screenshot of the NCAA’s report on SEC football teams:

Screenshot via NCAA

It’s important to note that while the report is from 2014, the scores actually apply to 2007, so these numbers don’t tell us anything about the current players who will play in this game. Still, it’s an important academic indicator of each school. And as you can see, Alabama placed first in the SEC. Missouri, meanwhile, placed 10th. It seems like Alabama’s your side, brainiac.

How much do you like the SEC?

Jamie Squire/Getty

As the game rapidly approaches, much has been made about the decline of the SEC. The SEC is no longer known as the king of all conferences, and this is also the first time in four years that four SEC teams won’t finish with more than 10 wins. Right now, the only team with 11 wins is the only team ranked in the top four in the latest College Football Playoff rankings.

A buddy of mine loves the SEC more than football itself. Living in California, I’ve never quite understood Ritchie’s love for a football conference located on the other side of the country. I do, however, understand who Ritchie is pulling for on Saturday without even asking him. He’s rolling with the Tide, because he’s rooting for the SEC as a whole.

If you’re like me, however, and come from a Pac-12 school, you’re probably sick of the SEC’s dominance by now. So pull for Missouri to knock Alabama out of college football’s top spot.

Sean Wagner-McGough is a writer for Next Impulse Sports

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