COLUMBIA — We all knew James Franklin was a nice guy, but he took courtesy a step further this week.
Asked whether he thinks a one-loss Missouri team should jump an undefeated Ohio State team if both win this weekend, he had a surprise pick for the No. 2 spot in the BCS National Championship.
No. 5 Missouri Tigers vs. No. 3 Auburn Tigers
Where: Georgia Dome (Atlanta)
When: 3 p.m. Saturday
“I personally think if a team is undefeated, like Ohio State — people talk about a weak conference and everything — I still think they would deserve to play in it,” Franklin told NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks. “Because undefeated, tough teams or not, it’s hard to win consistently, and it’s hard to go undefeated.”
No. 5 Missouri plays No. 3 Auburn in the Southeastern Conference Championship on Saturday afternoon. If Missouri were to emerge victorious, it would have a shot at sneaking past Ohio State in the final BCS rankings, but the Tigers likely need the Buckeyes to lose Saturday’s Big Ten Championship to get a chance in the national title game.
However, there is one scenario in which the Tigers can win, the Buckeyes can lose, and No. 4 Alabama will go to the championship instead, BCS expert Brad Edwards said.
That’s if Franklin suffers a season-ending injury Saturday.
“Rather than making them a sacrificial lamb, I could see voters saying, ‘You know what, I’ll put Alabama ahead because there’d be no point of even playing that game,” Edwards said in a Monday conference call. “That’s about the only scenario I can think of where it would happen.”
But Edwards expects Missouri to leap over Alabama in the final poll if the Tigers can beat Auburn.
And if either Florida State or Ohio State loses this weekend?
“I think the SEC champion is in,” Edwards said.
If the Seminoles and Buckeyes take care of business as expected, though, Missouri will need to campaign for a chance at the school’s first national championship.
Just don’t expect Franklin to lead the charge.
Supervising editor is Erik Hall.