Blog Entry

BCS championship game prediction blog

Posted on: January 9, 2011 7:31 pm

It's the little things in the BCS championship game. It's the little things because we know about the big things.

Figure Cam Newton for 200+ passing and 100+ rushing. Figure LaMichael James for 100+ rushing and a couple of touchdowns. Pencil Nick Fairley in for at least three tackles for loss and a personal four or two. None of that would surprise any of us.

It's the little things.

"I think it is real simple," Auburn's Gene Chizik said. "It is probably 200 years old ... We know that we have an explosive offense. We know that we have the capability of scoring a lot of points. What we'd like to do offensively is keep the football and eat some clock, get some first downs."

About that, Auburn is 86th in time of possession (29:01 per game) but is 11th in first downs (24.31). I'm a big stat guy so I think that's important. It's another indicator that Auburn is more like Oregon offensively than anyone knows. The difference in these two teams offensively is that I think Auburn wants to drive the ball, while Oregon wants to score quickly. Hence, the 79 plays per game. Possessions will have to be valued greatly. I compare it to a tennis match. If you don't score in this game, you lose serve.

I go back to the Oregon's USC game on Halloween. USC had a bye week to prepare for the Ducks' high-flying offense. Lane Kiffin spent a lot of time conditioning the Trojans. They were up to it to the point that USC scored two quick touchdowns in the third quarter to go ahead 32-29. Oregon then scored 24 unanswered to win 53-32. Do I think that will happen against Auburn? No. My point is that no matter what happens, Oregon's defense is going to be left on the field for an inordinate amount of time.

The Ducks average 1.76 points per minute of possession but their defense spends more than 32 minutes per game on the field.

For Oregon, gang tackling is going to be key against Cam Newton. The Ducks have six players with at least 25 tackles. Linebacker Casey Matthews is the energy guy (73 tackles, 8.5 TFLs, 3 sacks). Corner Cliff Harris (five picks) is the big-play guy. He averages 19.5 yards per punt return and has taken four to the house.

As for Oregon's offense, I suspect Chip Kelly will come out early running the zone read side-to-side with James. That will serve to tire out Auburn's defensive line, which obviously is its strength. When I talked to James following the Oregon State he told me that he -- and the coaches -- favor him getting up field more and using his body. Even though James is only 185, maybe 190, he is one of the hardest hitters in the game when he sticks his nose up in there.

Even though he's got a space-age offense, Kelly will try to manage this game like an NFL coach. Take chances, open it up and try to get out to a lead in the first half. If that happens, look for James running up in the creases to tire out Auburn. There is a line of thinking that Kelly has "hidden" much of the offense down the stretch. Quarterback Darron Thomas hasn't done much running. Look for that to be a factor too with Thomas rolling out with a run-pass option.

"Defensively, we think it is very simple. Again, that's 200 years old," Chizik said. "We've got to definitely stop the run first. We cannot give up the big plays in the secondary."

That's Auburn's biggest weakness. Only 14 teams are worse than Auburn against the pass.

The second half, particularly the fourth-quarter will be key. That sounds simple, but is really the identity of these teams. Oregon has outscored opponents 277-77 in the second half. Auburn has outscored foes 125-48 in the fourth quarter. That begins to explain why each of these teams has eight come-from-behind wins.

The final factor: Which team has the biggest chip on its shoulder? Make that Chip. Oregon has been acting like the team that is here on business. It got to the Valley early. There was scant media availability. We didn't even know Kelly was in town until Friday when he appeared at the mandated media day. The Ducks are still thinking about their performance in last year's Rose Bowl. They weren't physical enough against a quarterback of a similar build as Newton, Ohio State's Terrelle Pryor.

Prediction: I thought former Oregon coach Mike Bellotti broke it down perfectly Sunday when he said Auburn runs a Wildcat offense on every play with Newton. Defensive coordinators call a running quarterback a "plus one" because he has to be accounted for on every play -- an extra running back if you will. New Texas coordinator Manny Diaz -- who coached against Newton in his second Auburn game with Mississippi State -- called the quarterback a "plus one and a half."

We've talked about the little things here. Like Chizik said, it's simple. Go with Newton. No one has stopped him yet. I don't think Oregon is going to be the first. Auburn 41, Oregon 31.

Category: NCAAF

Since: Oct 25, 2006
Posted on: January 10, 2011 1:01 pm

BCS championship game prediction blog

Sorry to disagree, Newton just kept the game close, there were some games where the other gave them the games.  Especially the Alabama game.

Since: Jan 9, 2011
Posted on: January 10, 2011 12:40 pm

BCS championship game prediction blog

This is hard for someone who has seen him play a lot, but basically, Cam Newton does win the games for Auburn, and it doesn't seem to matter how far behind they are when he puts his mind to it.

Since: Oct 16, 2009
Posted on: January 10, 2011 12:28 pm

BCS championship game prediction blog

I don't see why people pick Auburn.  I'm not saying they can't win, but Oregon's offense and defense are both statistically better.  Auburn doesn't have a great defense even with Fairley.  Plus even though Newton is great, he's just one guy.  It's always simpler for a defense to stop one guy.  Oregon doesn't have just one guy they depend on.  The task for Auburn's defense is far more complicated.  Finally, look for some big punt returns by Oregon.  Auburn is one of the worst in the country at punt coverage and Oregon has a great returner.  Basically Dodd's whole argument is:  Newton will win it for Auburn.  Maybe but I wouldn't bet on it.

Since: Jun 10, 2008
Posted on: January 10, 2011 10:16 am

BCS championship game prediction blog

Dud coulnd't pick his nose

Since: Jan 9, 2011
Posted on: January 10, 2011 8:34 am

BCS championship game prediction blog

Auburn kills Oregon, Fairley definitely gets a personal foul, Newton rushes for 250 yards, and Auburn goes 8-4 next season, losing to MSU, South Carolina, Florida and Alabama... They go 7-5 if Les Miles stays at LSU. They will forfeit their undefeated season in 2012 after the FBI forces an insider to flip on Bobby Lowder.

Since: Jul 28, 2010
Posted on: January 10, 2011 2:06 am

BCS championship game prediction blog

so TCU is the best team in college this year?

Since: Nov 18, 2010
Posted on: January 10, 2011 12:25 am

BCS championship game prediction blog

Like I said before, Dodd chose Arkansas and Kentucky to win........

Since: Sep 3, 2006
Posted on: January 10, 2011 12:06 am

BCS championship game prediction blog

CSU. relax.  Of course TCU did an amazing job this year and I applaud them for going into a conference that is a little tougher.  I think it was the right move.  But as an Auburn guy I can tell you I feel your pain so much more than you know.  Imagine TCU beating more ranked teams than Auburn and Oregon combined but yet still being held out of the big game.  Now look back at the 2004 Auburn team who did that and won more games against tanked teams than USC and Oklahoma combined, but was left out of the NC game. 

TCU is great this year but Oregon and Auburn are by far the best 2 teams this year but understand your pain and desire for a playoff.  I would love to see it too.

Since: Sep 26, 2009
Posted on: January 9, 2011 10:47 pm

BCS championship game prediction blog

I predict the winner of this fake national championship game will deserve to win the game.  I also predict that they will be classless and stupid enough to believe they have won the national title outright.  TCU beat WIS in the first semi and this is simply the other semi.   Any person who is stupid enough to believe a national champion can be accurately voted upon needs to be immediately neutered. 

Since: Oct 7, 2010
Posted on: January 9, 2011 9:34 pm

BCS championship game prediction blog

I can't believe it's actually time to play the damn game.  I'm tired of watching BCS preview shows.  Time to stop talking and time to start playing. 

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