A little bit of this and a little bit of that as we point toward Saturday’s SEC championship game between Auburn and South Carolina:
History is not on Auburn’s side. The No. 1 team in the BCS standings has lost its conference championship game each of the past three seasons.
Since joining the SEC in 1992, South Carolina is 0-5 against Auburn. In fact, Auburn is the only SEC team South Carolina hasn’t beaten since joining the conference.
South Carolina is the first newcomer in the SEC championship game since Georgia went for the first time in 2002. The previous two newcomers -- Georgia in 2002 and LSU in 2001 -- won in their initial trips to Atlanta.
Auburn has trailed in eight of its 12 wins this season, including its win against South Carolina earlier this season. The Tigers have trailed by double digits four times, including their school-record 24-point comeback last week at Alabama.
In the first game between Auburn and South Carolina back on Sept. 25, the Tigers rushed a season-high tying 57 times in their 35-27 win and outgained the Gamecocks on the ground by 255 yards. South Carolina was allowing just 59.7 rushing yards per game before facing Auburn.
Auburn quarterback Cam Newton has racked up 43 touchdowns this season (24 passing, 18 rushing, 1 receiving). That’s more than 69 other FBS teams -- including LSU, Notre Dame and Clemson. Newton has only scored eight fewer touchdowns than South Carolina.
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier will be making his eighth trip to the SEC championship game, the previous seven coming as Florida’s head coach. The last time Spurrier made the trip, 10 years ago, he was also game planning for the Auburn Tigers. The Gators won 28-6.
Auburn has one of the most experienced offensive lines in the country. Senior Lee Ziemba has started all 50 games at tackle since arriving as a true freshman. Center Ryan Pugh has made 44 starts since his true freshman season. Guard Mike Berry (33 starts) and Byron Isom (30 starts) round out the experienced group.
The Tigers rank 10th nationally in rushing defense, allowing 108 yards per game. They’ve held nine of their 11 opponents to 117 or fewer rushing yards, including five under 100.
South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore has scored 19 touchdowns this season, one off the SEC freshman record of 20 set by Tennessee’s Reggie Cobb in 1987. The SEC record is 24 touchdowns, set in 1999 by Alabama’s Shaun Alexander.
This will be South Carolina’s second game ever indoors at a domed stadium. Their only other game played indoors was against Houston in 1973 at the Astrodome.
Under Gene Chizik, Auburn is 5-2 when trailing by 10 or more points with wins this season against Clemson, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama and a victory over West Virginia last season. Prior to Chizik’s arrival, Auburn was 4-44 during a 14-year span from 1995-2008 when trailing by 10 or more points.
Prior to this season, South Carolina’s only championship in football came in 1969 when the Gamecocks won the ACC title.