SEC Championship Preview 2012 SEC Championship South Carolina vs Auburn At the beginning of the 2012 season the South Carolina Gamecocks and the Auburn Tigers were not the favorites to win their respective SEC Division, yet here they are with unblemished 8-0 SEC records. In the East Division the Gamecocks had to get past the Georgia Bulldogs, and it was likely that the East Division would come down to their Week Three matchup. The Gamecocks knew they would be in for a tough challenge, because Georgiaâ€™s coach had vowed a year ago that they would never lose a SEC Game again and their only SEC loss came in the SEC Championship game to Alabama, so they had kept that promise, at least in the regular season until this point. The Gamecocks came into the game wounded losing their first two games and were in need of a win to salvage their season. The brutal rivalry game was most likely the game of the year in the entire nation. The teams battled it out in an offensive battle all the way until the end in which Georgia had an seven point lead with under a minute to go in the game. USC got it inside the five-yard line and it all came down to the last play. The Gamecocks would score to send it into overtime. After a quick score from each team in the first OT the game went into yet another overtime. Georgia got the ball first and a sack put the Bulldogs out of field goal range and they were forced to go for it on fourth down but didnâ€™t convert. South Carolina got the ball back and after one play kicked the game winning field goal. That win put USC in the driver seat to win the East and they did so finishing the season 10-2 (8-0). As for the Tigers, they knew the West would more than likely come down to the Iron Bowl against arch rival, two time defending SEC Champ, and defending National Champ Alabama. Auburn had to survive a nail bitter against Georgia just weeks earlier in which they hit a game winning field goal as time expired, but that game didnâ€™t really impact the West Divisionâ€™s outcome. Alabama came into the game as the heavy favorite, having only lost 2 games in four years, including winning 33 games in a row and 30 in a row at home. Auburn got off to a great start in the game taking a 21-7 lead into half, thanks mainly to two big touchdown plays of over 75 yards each. Alabama, being the great team that they are, would not go a way easily and would cut the lead to seven, 28-21 heading into the fourth. Both defenses were stingy for most of the final quarter, but Alabama would finally break through for the tying score on a Eddie Lacy touchdown run with 1:35 left in the game. Alabama would quickly get the ball back and suddenly they were looking to win the game. The Tiger defense would step up and hold the Tide to a field goal but that still left Auburn down three with 59 seconds left to play. Freeman would lead his offense right down the field and into position for at least the tie. With less than 20 second to play Freeman lofted a ball to the back corner of the endzone, and on the other end was a leaping Emory Blake who came down with the ball clinching the SEC West Division for Auburn. South Carolina will be making its second ever trip to the SEC Championship. Their last trip was in 2010, and they faced Alabama for the second time that year, after beating them at home earlier in the season. South Carolina put together a valiant effort in that game and had a chance to win the game, as they were in the redzone with less than 30 seconds to play. Garcia made a poor read on a pass and his pass was intercepted in the endzone and Alabama sealed the victory. The Gamecocks are back in the SEC Championship now and they are hungrier than ever. They have been fighting for years to earn respect around the nation, and this season they are finally starting to see some of that respect, but in order to truly be respected they need to beat Auburn and win the schools first SEC Championship. The only other conference championship in school history came in 1969 when the Gamecocks were a member of the ACC. Auburn on the other hand has a much more illustrious history although it hasnâ€™t been added to as of late. Auburn has won six SEC title but none since 2004, and they have appeared in three SEC Championship Games, winning one. They have won one National Title that has been officially recognized by the NCAA, 1957, but they have also won several others that arenâ€™t recognized by the NCAA including in 2004. The last time the South Carolina Gamecocks and Auburn Tigers met was in Columbia in 2011. That game was one of the best games of the 2011 season, a back-and-forth barnburner that came down to the last seconds. The offenses combined for over 600 total yards and 73 points. Since then the offenses have gotten even better with many of the same players coming back, although the Tigers have had to replace dual-threat QB Cam Newton. The best players that day were the explosive running backs on both teams, Marcus Lattimore of South Carolina and Michael Dyer of Auburn. Both backs return this year and have put up good numbers coming into this game, and look to be key factors in the end. In 2011 USC had a seven-point lead with less than two minutes to play, but Auburn was able to march down the field and tie the game with just under 30 seconds to go. Carolina would connect on a couple of big passes and suddenly they were in field goal range. Davis booted the game winner as time expired, and Carolina escaped with a 38-35 victory. Who will win this matchup of unlikely opponents is unsure, but the one thing that is certain is that for the first time since 2008 somebody will take home the SEC Title not named Alabama.