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Monday, January 10, 2011

The National Championship, Oregon vs. Auburn

It's National Championship day!  Say all you want about the need for a playoff, but the BCS got it right this year.   This is the game that we've all wanted to see and you couldn't find two more deserving teams to meet in the BCS National Championship than Oregon and Auburn.  It's been over a month since these teams solidified their position in this game and the wait is just about over.  

The storylines for tonight's game are all about the offense.  Both schools run the infamous "spread, but even a casual fan can tell that there is a big difference between the two styles.  Oregon has more speed at every position and their Coach Chip Kelly has revolutionized play-calling.  Auburn has the most dominant player in college football since at least last year, but seriously he plays like Superman.  Both schools averaged over 40 points a game this season and rank in the Top 5 nationally in rushing offense! The question becomes can either defense stop either offense?  

Fortunately both schools featured top defenses to go along with their glitzy offenses.  Auburn's D is led by dominating Defensive Tackle Nick Fairley who has flat out owned the line of scrimmage this season.  Every game that I've seen him play, he's spent a majority of the time in the offensive backfield disrupting everything.  The question for today's game might is he in good enough shape to do that roughly 100 times?  Which is the number of plays that Oregon usually shoots for in a game.  Fairley and the rest of the Tigers will have to get pressure on QB Darron Thomas early and often in order to break up their rhythm and momentum.  Running Back, LaMichael James is a special player but if Auburn can take away the threat of the deep ball to Jeff Maehl, their Linebackers will be able to tee-off on the undersized speedster.

The Ducks defense has been tasked with stopping the most unstoppable player in College Football this season.  Fortunately they've got 12th best Defense in the country in terms of points allowed.  Their defense is led by All-American Cornerback Cliff Harris and Linebacker Casey Matthews.  Both will have to have great games for the Ducks to contain Auburn.  Cliff Harris will likely be paired off against Wide Receiver Darvin Adams, who has been Newton's top target this season.  If Harris can negate Adams' impact, their Linebackers Matthews, Spencer Paysinger, and Eddie Pleasant can key on the Tigers running threats Newton, Michael Dyer, and Onterrio McCalebb.  

Everything about this game points to an offensive explosion and the over/under right now is at 74 points.  Although I don't gamble I could see these teams putting up over 80 points after all the fine tuning they've been able to get in over the last month.  Both teams have made something of a habit of getting off to slow starts, and because of that long lay-off we could see more of that.  However, once these offenses start to get going, this is going to be a very fun game to watch. At the end of the night,Oregon's defense is going to have more success stopping Cam Newton and I think the Ducks are going to play too fast on offense for those big bodies up front for the Tigers to catch their breath, the Duck's will prevail 48-42.  

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