Alabama vs. Missouri: Time, Line, Channel & Prediction

Quarterback Blake Sims leads No. 1 Alabama against No. 16 Missouri in Saturday's SEC Championship Game. (Getty)

Quarterback Blake Sims leads No. 1 Alabama against No. 16 Missouri in Saturday’s SEC Championship Game. (Getty)

By the time Alabama and Auburn kicked off last weekend’s Iron Bowl, the Crimson Tide already knew they’d be playing in the SEC Championship Game as the Western Division champions. When Ole Miss knocked off Mississippi State earlier in the day, Alabama had its ticket punched to Atlanta, where it’ll face East champion Missouri.

But the Tide still needed to beat Auburn to keep their College Football Playoff future bright. It was back-and-forth for a while, but Alabama prevailed 55-44 and maintained its No. 1 spot in the latest CFP rankings.

A win Saturday and the Tide (11-1, 7-1 SEC) is a virtual lock to keep that top seed in the playoffs. Follow here for live game updates and highlights.

Standing in Alabama’s way is an underrated Missouri team. Just 3 years into SEC life, Gary Pinkel has his Tigers (10-2, 7-1 SEC) in the conference title game for the second consecutive season.

Missouri has won 6 in a row and a victory Saturday would cause serious havoc at the top of the rankings.

Here’s what you need to know about this year’s SEC Championship Game:

The Basics


No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 16 Missouri, SEC Championship Game


Saturday, 4 p.m. Eastern on CBS


Georgia Dome, Atlanta


Alabama (-14.5). Line provided by

Last Meeting:

Alabama 42, Missouri 10, on Oct. 13, 2012, in Columbia, Missouri

Scouting Alabama

Alabama runs one of the more balanced offenses in the nation, highlighted by Heisman Trophy hopeful receiver Amari Cooper. In last week’s Iron Bowl track meet, Cooper tied his own school record with 224 yards to go with 3 touchdowns on 13 receptions. The junior owns numerous school marks, including most career receptions (207), yards (3,309) and touchdowns (29).

Missouri boasts a solid pass defense, but quarterback Blake Sims (2,988 yards and 24 TDs) and Cooper have been unstoppable. Cooper has 103 receptions for 1,573 yards and 14 scores, all top 5 nationally. The next leading Tide receiver is DeAndrew White with 33 catches for 338 yards and 3 touchdowns. Offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin has been staying a few steps ahead of opposing defenses as he keeps finding ways to get Cooper the ball.

Running backs T.J. Yeldon (885 yards, 8 touchdowns) and Derrick Henry (754 yards, 8 touchdowns) both came up big in the win over Auburn and have been a steady 1-2 punch. Alabama scores 36.7 points per game.

The Crimson Tide entered last week with the No. 2 scoring defense in the country (14.5 ppg) and one of the stingiest in yards allowed per game, but Auburn hung 44 points and 630 yards, dropping them a few spots in the rankings. Still, the unit is among the toughest in the country as no team other than Auburn has scored more than 23 points against them.

Linebackers Reggie Ragland (86 tackles, 8 TFL) and Trey DePriest (78 tackles) and defensive backs Landon Collins (84 tackles, 3 interceptions) and Nick Perry (71 tackles, 2 interceptions) are the players to watch.

This is Alabama’s 9th SEC Championship appearance. The Tide is 4-4 in the previous games.

Scouting Missouri

Usually known for a potent offense, Missouri flipped the script this season and clamped down on defense. The Tigers rank in the top 20 nationally in total defense (331.1 yards per game) and scoring defense (19.7 ppg). Led by defensive ends Shane Ray (SEC-leading 13.5 sacks, 20.5 tackles for loss) and Markus Golden (8.5 sacks, 16 TFL), Missouri can get after the quarterback. Its 40 sacks are tied for sixth in the FBS. But Ray and Golden will need to be at their best as the Alabama offensive line has allowed just 11 sacks in 12 games.

Linebacker Kentrell Brothers leads the way with 103 tackles (50 solo) and LB Michael Scherer is right behind him with 100 stops (43 solo).

Offensively, Maty Mauk has thrown for 2,279 with 22 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, relying mostly on receiver Bud Sasser, who has caught 9 touchdowns on 65 receptions for 904 yards. Jimmie Hunt has hauled in 7 touchdowns on 34 catches.

Like Alabama, Mizzou has its own 1-2 combo in the backfield. Russell Hansbrough has rushed for a team-high 949 yards and 9 touchdowns on 177 carries (5.4 average). Marcus Murphy has accounted for 747 yards and 4 touchdowns. The offense has lost only 2 fumbles, fewest in the FBS.

The Tigers are middle-of-the-pack nationally with an average of 28.6 points per game.

Missouri has shown a knack for winning close games, going 6-1 in contests decided by 10 or fewer points, including its last 5 played.

Heavy’s Pick

Alabama 35, Missouri 17

While he always has Missouri ready to play and winning games, Gary Pinkel might want to change his name to Rodney Dangerfield because his team gets no respect. That’s life in the SEC East these days. Perhaps Mizzou can use that as motivation, but it hasn’t faced a defense like Alabama’s all season. Not even close. And upon further inspection, the Tigers haven’t seen an offense like the Tide’s either, except for maybe Georgia’s (UGA blanked Mizzou 34-0). Alabama has been prepped for these types of situations as most weeks in the stacked SEC West resemble playoff games. Whereas the SEC East has been more like preseason action. Missouri is definitely playing better as of late, but the Tigers won’t take any air out of the tires in the Crimson Tide’s ride to the College Football Playoffs.