Monday, January 10, 2011

Who ya got? Championship Game edition

We've come to the end of another college football season and, well my stars, the SEC is back in the final game.

Mighty Auburn comes in at 13-0, facing No. 2 Oregon, also undefeated. Auburn would be the SEC's fifth consecutive champion, and the fourth SEC team (joining Florida, LSU and Alabama) to capture the title over that run.

If SEC envy were not enough to make the Ducks the people's choice for three-fourths of the country, there's the specter of a continuing NCAA investigation into the dealings that brought Cam Newton to The Plains.

That most of the country thinks they cheat hasn't slowed the Tigers an iota. Many in the Southeast think Auburn actually played its national championship game in Tuscaloosa, overcoming a 24-0 deficit and a raging Alabama team in perhaps the greatest comeback in Auburn's long history.

In Oregon, Auburn faces a small, quicker version of itself -- just with uglier uniforms. The Ducks make Auburn's no-huddle look like its being run by the '66 Packers. They average about 50 points a game, and surgically remove the lungs and legs of their opponents in the second half.

Auburn tries to do the same, and they have the year's transcendent player in Newton and perhaps the country's best defender in Nick Fairley.

Still, this should be pinball played at a speed that even scares the pinball.

So, who ya got?

Tommy Tomlinson
Thanks. Here's my pick.

I said right after the SEC title game that Auburn would steamroll Oregon. Since then there's been a month's worth of hype about how this game will be close, and maybe Oregon is a slight favorite. That's natural -- it wouldn't be much fun talking about how the national championship game is going to be a blowout.

I do think Oregon can win. But Auburn played bigger games, against a tougher schedule. And Auburn has had time to plan for Oregon's style. Oregon has planned for Auburn's style too, of course, but Auburn doesn't do anything all that complicated -- it just has the best player in the country running the show.

"Steamroll" is probably the wrong word. But I think it'll be convincing. Auburn 38, Oregon 26.

Peter St. Onge

J, you got any extra Maalox?

I'm pretty sure Auburn's offense has a force and complexity that Oregon hasn't seen before. By the fourth quarter, the undersized Ducks will be worn out. But Auburn has struggled all season with speed teams that use misdirection. So first team to three stops win. Auburn 45, Oregon 42.

Michael Gordon

Given that I still had hair the last time these either of these two teams played, the championship game could be sloppy, and if both teams are sloppy, Auburn will win. The Tigers have perhaps the country's best offensive line. They run simple plays. And if Cam Newton doesn't throw well, he'll still average 5 yards a carry. If it's mud wrestling, Auburn win big.

Last year's title game swung when Texas' essential player, Colt McCoy, picked the wrong time to run a quarterback keeper and become a human sacrifice to Marcel Dareus. Let's hope a key injury doesn't turn this game, but if it does, who's more likely to get dinged: Newton, whose bigger than just about anybody on the Oregon defense, or Lamichael James, who might fit in Nick Fairley's lunchbox?

Auburn's defense is entirely capable of giving up 35 points, but so is Oregon's. Oregon is fast. But Auburn has more athletes on both sides of the ball, and a defense that seems to play better as the game goes on.

I don't like Auburn. I don't like this team. But who couldn't respect what they've accomplished on the field? I'm not going to pick against them now. AU, 44-35.

R. Trentham Roberts

After a month away from lining up and getting after them, maybe -- maybe -- Oregon's offense takes a series or 2 or 3 to get rolling. That's the difference. That and Cam-I-Am, the biggest X factor in a big game since Vince Young. And we know how that turned out. Auburn 35, Oregon 34.


Bama Brother said...

I have to agree with Mr. Gordon's analysis. And while I have not seen Oregon except in the highlight reels, I doubt that they have had the combination of talent, circumstance, gift-giving by opponents, and tenacity at key moments that Auburn has had throughout this season. If this game is settled by a single-digit margin, I'll be surprised.
Auburn 35, Ducks 24.

Duck in Redneckville said...

If U of O was in the state of Florida they would already have two National Championships.

Ducks 34
Local favorites 21

Anonymous said...

So why is this game banned from network television? Since ESPN Sports owns ABC Sports,they could easily air this on ABC. Is this game only important enough to be viewed on cable?

Michael said...


The Rednecks say welcome and hope, y'all come back, real soon. Y'hear?

How about tomorrow to talk about the game, win or lose?

Redneck 1 and out

Michael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael said...

Local favorite?