Rams C Barnes set for first career start, ready to watch alma mater, too

For a change, Tim Barnes has the upper hand when it comes to trash-talking with fellow St. Louis Rams offensive lineman Barrett Jones.

Barnes is set to make his first career start at center Sunday at Arizona in place of injured Scott Wells.

He plans on watching alma mater Missouri play Auburn in the SEC championship game while Alabama, where Jones starred on three national title teams, is an unexpected outsider.

Barnes was a three-year starter at center for Missouri from 2008-10.

Before playing the second half of Sunday's loss at San Francisco after Wells broke his left ankle, he'd gotten only special teams duty in 26 games the past two seasons with St. Louis.

Jones was a fourth-round pick by the Rams this April after a highly decorated career at Alabama, but has not yet been active on game day.

The Crimson Tide were No. 1 in the BCS before losing on Chris Davis' game-ending 100-plus yard return of a missed field goal that put Auburn in the SEC title game.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org