Three years ago, it wasn’t supposed to be like this. It’s impossible for teams from any conference to match the power of the SEC. However, the SEC East is on the line for the (9-2) Missouri Tigers. With a win, the Tigers are scheduled to face the winner of the SEC West for the second straight year in the conference title game. If the Tigers lose, the SEC East belongs to Georgia. Either way, the winner of the SEC West should be heavy favorites next week.
Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Missouri Tigers
Arkansas is steadily becoming an interesting story out of the SEC in 2014. Bret Bielema just won consecutive games after losing 13 straight conference tilts to start his career with the Razorbacks. Now they can spoil the hopes of Missouri and send the Bulldogs into the conference championship.
Not only did Arkansas get their first wins, they did it in dominating fashion. Back to back shutouts of LSU and Ole Miss helped bring Arkansas to bowl eligibility. However, both of those games were at home, and they face Missouri on the road.
On the surface, this game will not be pretty offensively. Missouri doesn’t do anything great on the offensive end, and they are 98 in offensive efficiency this season. Despite the strong record, Maty Mauk hasn’t exploded onto the scene in his first full year as starting quarterback. Missouri only averages 183 yards per game through the air, but they’ll need to make big plays early in the passing game. Otherwise, Arkansas will be able to constrict the offense, and make them one dimensional.
Arkansas doesn’t have a dynamic passing game either. In similar fashion to Missouri, the Razorbacks need to make some early throws before the defense gets into a rhythm and sucks the air out of offense. Arkansas does have 1-2 punch at running back. Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins have combined for 23 rushing touchdowns this season. By the end of the day, Arkansas should have two 1000 yard rushers on the team. If it doesn’t happen, Arkansas could be in real trouble.
Brandon Allen has been serviceable as the Arkansas quarterback, with 16 touchdown passes and five interceptions. However, he’s only completing 57 percent of his passes and the offense seems to bog down in key situations. This is evident in the five losses this season.
For Missouri, everything is on the line. Even with a win, the Tigers won’t get the proper respect. Still, they’ll have the opportunity to earn enough confidence to compete in the SEC championship game.