This game goes down on the ESPN network and it features University of Oregon Ducks taking on Auburn University Tigers in the 5th actual BCS National Championship Game to be played at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
Auburn, 13-0, 8-0 SEC, Tigers have had a magical season in part to the play of Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Cam Newton as the team went undefeated on the year. Head coach Gene Chizik Tigers definitely had some scares along the way to reaching Glendale as Clemson took them into overtime and they had to rally to defeat the defending national champion Alabama while a lot of speculation surrounded Newton. The Tigers carried that over that momentum into the SEC Championship game where they routed South Carolina.
The Tigers put up some gaudy offensive numbers as they ranked 4th in the nation with 42 ppg, 5th in rushing at 287.2 ypg and 7th in total offense at 497.7 ypg. Newton was the reason for those numbers as the junior quarterback rushed for 1,409 yards and 20 touchdowns while throwing for 2,589 yards and 28 touchdowns with 6 interceptions.
Newton was definitely the showcase of the offense but did share the spotlight at times with running backs Michael Dyer, who rushed for 950 yards and 5 touchdowns and Onterio McCalebb, 763 yards and 9 touchdowns. When Newton looked to throw the ball he wide receivers more than capable of catching his passes like Darvin Adams who had 48 receptions for 909 yards and 7 touchdowns and Emory Blake’s 500 yards and 7 touchdowns.
Defensively the Tigers as whole is nothing all that spectacular but they do have an impact player in junior tackle Nick Fairley who has 21 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks on the season.
The Tigers have one national title to their credit but that came back in 1957.
Oregon, 12-0, 9-0 Pac-10, Ducks navigated through their season without much of a fight except for a game in mid November against California where they came out with a 15-13 win. The rest of the season second year head coach Chip Kelly watched as his team destroyed the competition, by winning the rest of their 11 games by double digits. The Ducks won it’s second straight Pac-10 title and became the first team in conference history to win nine league games.
Like Auburn, Oregon is too an offensive jugernaught as they led the nation in scoring with 49 ppg and total offense at 537.5 ypg while ranking 4th in rushing with 303.8 ypg.
It is Oregon’s team speed that presents the most problems for teams and it starts with Sunday bound badass LaMichael James. The sophomore running back is simply as good as it gets and finished as the nations leading rusher with 152.9 ypg and a total of 1,682 yards on the season with 21 touchdowns all the while sitting out the season opener. When James leaves the game his backup Kenjon Barner has kept the offensive going and has done so on limited carries. Barner has 80 carries and has gained 519 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Quarterback Darron Thomas has been impressive under center this season as both a passer where he has 2,518 yards and 28 touchdowns with 7 interceptions while rushing for 492 yards and 5 touchdowns. It’s easy to get lost on this offensive with such stars as James and Thomas, both from the state of Texas, but wide receiver Jeff Maehl is as dangerous and very reliable target downfield. Maehl has had a huge senior season, earning All-Pac-10 honors with 68 catches for 943 yards and 12 touchdowns.
The team has also excelled elsewhere with an offensive line that has only allowed 8 sacks on the season and has All-American returner Cliff Harris on special teams who has 4 punt returns for touchdowns on the season.
Defensively the Ducks are loaded with speed that has forced 35 forced turnovers and 31 sacks. The Ducks have a few impact players on this side of the ball and it begins in the middle with linebacker Casey Matthews team-high 73 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 3 interceptions and 3 fumble recoveries and Spencer Paysinger, 68 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 1 fumble recovery. The secondary is as good as it gets with Talmadge Jackson 2 interceptions, John Boyett 5 interceptions, Cliff Harris 5 interceptions. Defensive end Kenny Rowe is also a force on the line with his 12.5 tackles for loss and 6 sacks.
This is the first ever meeting between the two schools.
PICK: University of Oregon Ducks
This game goes down on the ESPN2 network and it features Auburn University Tigers taking on the University of Mississippi Rebels at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
Head coach Gene Chizik takes his Tigers to Mississippi with a perfect season on the line at 8-0 and 5-0 in the SEC. The Tigers are coming off a 24-17 win at home against LSU last weekend which junior quarterback Cameron Newton who is doing it all. Newton has passed for 1364 yards 13 touchdowns 5 INTs while completing 65.2 percent of his throws but his legs have done the most damage as he has rushed for 1077 yards 14 touchdowns at 6.9 yards per carry.
The Tigers offense goes as Newton goes but he does have the luxury of freshman running back Michael Dyer, 543 yards 3 touchdowns, and sophomore Onterio McCalebb, 458 yards 4 touchdowns, who are a dangerous tandem behind the gifted quarterback. When Newton looks to air the ball out he usually looks to junior Darvin Adams, 452 yards and 2 touchdowns, to move the chains but the home run ball goes to sophomore wide receiver Emory Blake, 201 yards 4 touchdowns.
Defensive tackle Nick Fairley is the real standout on defense as he has 39 tackles and leads the team in both tackles for loss with 17 and 7.5 sacks, he also has one interception and one fumble recovery.
Head coach Houston Nutt Rebels are reeling and a disappointment for alumni as they are 3-4 overall and 1-3 in the SEC. It hasn’t helped that Ole Miss is playing its third straight ranked opponent after losing at Alabama, 23-10, and Arkansas, 38-24, in the last two outings. The Rebels are lead by Oregon transfer senior Jeremiah Masoli, 1260 yards 10 touchdowns 6 INTs, at quarterback. Masoli, 400 yards 3 touchdowns, ranks second on the team in rushing and averages 5. 3 yards per carry.
Junior running back Brandon Bolden, 559 yards 5 touchdowns, is averaging a healthy 5.8 yards per carry. Bolden, 187 yards 2 touchdowns, is also one of Masoli’s top target in the passing game. Wideouts sophomore Melvin Harris, 248 yards 3 touchdowns and senior Markeith Summers, 359 yards 4 touchdowns, are strong complements on the outside.
Helping the cause is an offensive line that has yielded a mere 7 sacks on the season which leads the SEC and ranks 17th nationally.
Auburn leads the all-time series 25-9 including a perfect 13-0 against the Rebels when they come into the game ranked in the top-25.
PICK: Auburn University Tigers
This game goes down on the ESPN2 network and it features the Auburn University Tigers takes on the University of Kentucky Wildcats at Commonwealth Stadium.
Head coach Gene Chizik takes his undefeated Tigers to Lexington to improve on their 5-0 record and 2-0 in the SEC. The Tigers are close to being a one man show with Heisman Trophy hopeful in junior quarterback Cameron Newton, 928 yards 12 touchdowns 4 INTs and has rushed for 474 yards 5 touchdowns. Newton has provided an equal balance of nearly 200 ypg on the ground and air. Newton is completing 68.5 percent of his passes and carrying the ball for 6.2 ypc.
Two of Newtons favorite targets is junior wide receiver Darvin Adams, 284 yards 2 touchdowns, and sophomore Emory Blake, 173 yards 3 touchdowns. Newton also benefits from sophomore running backs Onterio McCalebb, 336 yards 2 touchdowns, and freshman Michael Dyer, 334 yards 2 touchdowns, to keep defenses guessing as who will carry the ball.
Defensively Auburn has success stopping the run only allowing 92.8 ypg on the ground at basically 2.6 ypc. The star of the defense is junior defensive tackle Nick Fairley who already has 11.5 tackles for loss and 5 sacks.
Head coach Joker Phillips tries to regroup his Wildcats after losing to Ole Miss 42-35 last weekend in which it drop them 3-2 overall and 0-2 in the SEC. Kentucky is lead under center by senior quarterback Mike Hartline, 1222 yards 8 touchdowns. Hartline has looked for senior wide receiver Chris Matthews, 287 yards 5 touchdowns, when going down field.
However the Wildcats are also a balanced team and have more than a few weapons besides Hartline and his arm. Kentucky has running backs Derrick Locke, 543 yards 7 touchdowns, and junior Randall Cobb, 121 yards one touchdown and catching for 335 yards 3 touchdowns. The Wildcats are averaging 36 ppg and 453.6 total ypg, and has converted on 44 percent of its third down conversion attempts.
Kentucky has two star players on its defense in junior defensive tackle Luke McDermott who has 3 sacks and junior linebacker Danny Treviathan who has 42 tackles including 8 tackles for loss.
Auburn owns a commanding 24-6-1 series advantage over Kentucky.
PICK: Auburn University Tigers
This game goes down on the ESPN network and it features the University of South Carolina Gamecocks taking on Auburn University Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier takes his Gamecocks down to Auburn 3-0 and 1-0 in the SEC. The South Carolina offense is led by junior quarterback Stephen Garcia, 508 yards 2 touchdowns and 2 INTs, who has completed nearly 70 percent of his passes. Garcia though hasn’t been nearly impressive on the road as he’s just 2-7 in games he starts outside of Williams-Brice Stadium and had thrown 5 touchdowns with 10 interceptions.
The Gamecocks have gotten a spark on offense out of freshman running back Marcus Lattimore, 333 yards 5 touchdowns. Lattimore has fueled the attack, but others have stepped up like sophomore wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, 19 catches 306 yards, to help the Gamecocks to average 32 ppg.
South Carolina’s defense has been the real surprise for the Gamecocks as they are limiting opponents to just 2.2 ypc and 12 ppg. The pass defense for South Carolina has been a little more generous with 267.7 ypg but has recorded 11 sacks and 3 interceptions. The top play-maker on the defensive side is safety sophomore DeVonte Holloman who has a team-high 20 tackles, one interception and one forced fumble. Sophomore defensive end Devin Taylor, 11 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, and junior tackle Travian Robertson, 9 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, have created the havoc on the line.
Auburn’s head coach Gene Chizik has his Tigers also 3-0 and 1-0 in the SEC after outlasting Clemson in a 27-24 brawl in overtime. The Tigers are lead by junior quarterback Cameron Newton, 525 passing yards 7 touchdowns with 3 INTs and 309 rushing yards 2 touchdowns, has the ability to move the ball both on the ground and through the air.
Like Lattimore in Columbia, the Tigers have a freshman running back who is just as dynamic in Michael Dyer, 212 yards one touchdown, who has averaged 5.4 ypc. He’s joined in the backfield with sophomore Onterio McCalebb, 225 yards one touchdown, and his 7.3 ypc. Newton has thrown touchdown passes to five different players thus far, with junior wide receiver Darvin Adams, 214 yards 2 touchdowns, leads the team.
The Auburn defense has allowed a rather generous 21 ppg but has also had 25 tackles for a loss and 8 sacks. Senior middle linebacker Josh Bynes leads the squad with 23 tackles but it’s on the line that most of the production that counts has come from. Junior defensive tackle Nick Fairley, 16 tackles, 7 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, and senior defensive end Antoine Carter, 14 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, have done well beyond their part for the Tigers.
This is the ninth all-time meeting, with Auburn holding a 6-1-1 advantage and the Tigers have won four straight, including a 24-17 victory in the last meeting in Columbia in 2006.
PICK: Auburn University Tigers
This game goes down on the ESPN network and it features the Clemson University Tigers taking on Auburn University Tigers in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Auburn has gone only 5-11 in the SEC over the last two season but looking early to change that with a 17-14 victory on the road against Mississippi State to open SEC play and take them to 2-0 overall.
Head coach Gene Chizik can thank the turn around on the legs and arm of junior quarterback Cameron Newton who has 322 passing yards, 241 rushing yards and 7 touchdowns in his first two games. The 6-6, 250-pounder leads an offense averaging 478 ypg and rushing attack of 278.5 ypg. Newton is doing the majority of the rushing and leads the team in 120.5 ypg, he has also completed 60.6 percent of his passes. Junior Darvin Adams and senior wide receiver Mario Fannin are both averaging over 15 yards per reception, combining for 175 yards and 3 touchdowns.
On the defensive side of the ball for Auburn it’s the ability to stop the run that shines through as they have only allowed 80ypg on just 2.4 ypc. The play up front is a strength of this unit led by senior defensive end Antoine Carter,9 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, and junior tackle Nick Fairley,9 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 1 INT and 1 fumble recovery, who was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week.
Clemson is 2-0 but head coach Dabo Swinney tries to prepare his Tigers to beat Auburn for the first time since 1951. Clemson has taken advantage of two over-matched opponents in North Texas and Presbyterian totaling 93 points in its victories.
Sophomore quarterback Kyle Parker, 284 yards 4 touchdowns, has seen limited action because of the blowouts. In large part to sophomore running back Andre Ellington, 8.9 ypc 3 touchdowns and junior running back Jamie Harper, 6 ypc one touchdown.
The Tigers defense has gotten huge contributions from junior defensive end Da’Quan Bowers, 8 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, and senior defensive tackle Jarvis Jenkins, 9 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, one sack and junior defensive end Andre Branch, 7 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, as they make up one of the best lines in the ACC. The star on this defense through and perhaps one of the best in the nation is senior safety DeAndre McDaniel, 15 tackles.
Auburn holds a 33-11-2 advantage in the all-time series winning the last 13 meetings. The ACC’s Tigers haven’t posted a win in this series since 1951 and the last meeting took place in the 2007 Chick-fil-A Bowl.
PICK: Auburn University Tigers
The Auburn Tigers invade Athens this weekend for what figures to be a competitive SEC game against the hometown Georgia Bulldogs.
Auburn took a break from SEC play last weekend to post a 63-31 decision over Furman in front of the home crowd. That victory was the second in a row for the Tigers, who are now 7-3 overall to go along with a 3-3 SEC mark. While a conference title is out of reach, Gene Chizik’s team can certainly improve its bowl prospects with a victory over the Bulldogs.
Georgia has won two of its last three games to move to 5-4 overall, including 3-3 in SEC play. Like the Tigers, the Bulldogs played an FCS squad last weekend, and the result was a 38-0 decision over Tennessee Tech. Mark Richt’s team needs one more victory to earn bowl eligibility, so there is definitely something to play for on Saturday.
Auburn holds a narrow 53-51-8 advantage over Georgia in the all-time series.
Auburn possesses one of the most underrated players in the SEC, as tailback Ben Tate continues to quietly post big numbers. Through 10 outings, he has rushed for 1,142 yards and eight touchdowns while gaining 5.6 yards per carry. That level of production has certainly taken some pressure off Chris Todd, who has completed 58.6 percent of his passes for 1,958 yards and 17 touchdowns with only three interceptions. The top wideout on the team is Darvin Adams, who has certainly made the most of his 38 catches. Adams has 627 receiving yards and nine touchdowns to his credit, and he may see some added attention from Georgia defenders on Saturday. The offense had its way against Furman as expected last week, racking up 655 yards en route to 63 points. Todd was brilliant, completing 17-of-18 passes for 256 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. Adams scored three times and had 115 yards on six catches, while Tate reached the end zone twice.
While Auburn is averaging 35.0 ppg and 450.3 total ypg, the club is allowing 26.6 ppg and 360.9 total ypg to the opposition. A total of 32 touchdowns have been permitted to opposing offenses through 10 games, including 20 rushing scores. Foes are gaining nearly 170 yards per outing on the ground at a clip of 4.4 yards per carry, so there is obviously room for improvement. The pass defense has been better for Auburn, which has the same number of interceptions (12) as touchdown passes allowed. Craig Stevens is an impact player for the defense who leads the way with 79 total tackles, including 7.5 TFLs. Antonio Coleman also deserves mention, as he has made 12.5 TFLs thus far, including 6.5 sacks. It is certainly somewhat concerning that Auburn allowed 31 points to Furman last week. True, all four of the Paladins’ touchdowns did come in the second half when the game was already out of reach, but even a second string SEC defense should play better against a non-FBS foe.
Georgia is averaging 27.1 ppg and 344.2 total ypg this season, and the offense can best be described as a mediocre unit with a true superstar in the fold. That superstar is wideout A.J. Green, who is expected to play this weekend despite injured ribs. Green has played in eight of the team’s games this season, starting just six, but he has made 44 catches for 732 yards and six touchdowns. Joe Cox, the team’s quarterback, has thrown for 1,886 yards and 17 touchdowns, but he has tossed 12 interceptions as well. There is not a standout back on the roster, as the Bulldogs have been unable to replace departed stud Knowshon Moreno. Last week against Tennessee Tech was one of the few games this season in which the ground attack excelled, but it is important to remember that the level of competition was low. Georgia finished with 304 rushing yards at a clip of 7.8 yards per carry, and Washaun Ealey led the way with 89 yards and two touchdowns on just seven carries.
Opponents are scoring 26.1 ppg against Georgia this season, and the club is permitting 332.0 total ypg. The Bulldogs have been solid against the run, limiting foes to 3.4 yards per attempt and seven touchdowns in nine games. Unfortunately, 17 passing scores have been allowed, and the ‘Dawgs have just five interceptions to their credit. The fact that Georgia has only six total takeaways is a major reason for the modest 5-4 record. Rennie Curran leads the team with 82 total tackles, 31 more than his closest teammate. Curran and company dominated Tennessee Tech last weekend, limiting the overmatched opponent to 55 total yards, including minus-13 rushing yards on 31 attempts. Six sacks certainly helped the cause.
PICK: Auburn University Tigers