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Tuesday, June 30, 2009
No. 9 Baylor vs. No. 9 Auburn in today's Big 12-SEC Challenge

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Baylor (Big 12 No. 9) vs. Auburn (SEC No. 9)

Baylor's record against the SEC: 0-0
Auburn's record against the Big 12: 2-0
Previous series: Baylor leads, 2-1-1

Most recent meeting: Baylor, 15-14, at Auburn in 1976.

Distance between them (according to How Far Is It): 690 miles.
Where they should play: Baton Rouge, La. (368 miles from Waco, 364 miles from Auburn)

Who wins: Baylor.

Why: Two words would be the difference in this game -- Robert Griffin.

Gene Chizik will return the Tigers to bowl status sooner than later. But he doesn't have the offensive weapons to match Baylor at this point. Griffin, Jay Finley, Kendall Wright and David Gettis are an imposing group of skill-position players. But Griffin is the reason why the Bears are hopeful of breaking their bowl drought.

New Auburn coordinator Gus Malzahn still hasn't decided on a quarterback yet as Kodi Burns and Neil Caudle both should receive snaps early. But the Tigers ranked 99th or worse in passing offense, scoring offense and total offense, including an impotent 17.3 points per game. They likely couldn't afford to get in a scoring battle with the Bears -- particularly after failing to score more than 28 points in all but two games last season.

That's where veteran defensive leadership like Joe Pawelek and Jordan Lake would come through for the Bears. Toss in an improved pass rush keyed by Phil Taylor and you have a recipe for the Big 12's first victory in the series.

Coming Wednesday: Missouri (Big 12 No. 8) vs. Kentucky (SEC No. 8).

The count: SEC, 3-1.