Posts Tagged ‘Auburn Tigers’

Cam Newton v. LaMichael James

If you had looked at the final BCS standings for the 2010-11 season, you could not have even called, hell, even took a stab in the dark that the Auburn Tigers and Oregon Ducks held the number 1 and 2 spot, respectively. With predicted favorites Alabama and Ohio State falling early in a roller coaster of a season, in which five different teams held the top spot in the BCS standings, who would have known that the #11 preseason ranked Ducks would be squaring off against a #22 preseason ranked Auburn team. It only makes sense when each team had a Heisman finalist to lead them there, in which Oregon’s LaMichael James finished 3rd while Auburn’s Cam Newton took home the hardware (as well as other distinguished trophies). It’ll definitely be one for the books in this shootout but here is my breakdown of the 2011 BCS title game:

Quarterback
Oregon’s Darren Thomas did a nice job this season commanding the Duck’s explosive, video-game like offense by throwing for over 2500 yards, 28 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. Thomas also proved he could be a solid duel-threat QB by rushing for 492 yards and five scores. However, it’s Cam Newton that takes the crown for this category by far. The Heisman, Davey O’Brien (Top NCAA QB), and Maxwell (College player of the year) award-winning quarterback has shown inhuman qualities while putting up unbelievable statistics: throwing for over 2500 yards, in which he completed 67.1% of his passes and 28 touchdowns AND rushing for 1580 yards and 20 touchdowns. Purely mind-blowing. Newton also has the drive in him to win it all, especially in Auburn’s 4th quarter comeback against Alabama on Nov 26.
EDGE: Auburn

Running Back
Running back is sort of a vague term for Auburn, as Cam Newton could have arguably handled both halfback and quarterback positions. However, the Tigers real starting running back Michael Dyer had a nice season to compliment Newton and Auburn, rushing for 962 yards, averaging 5.9 a carry with 5 scores. Dyer and even Newton could not compete with the stats of Oregon’s LaMichael James, the Duck’s dynamic running back. The 2nd runner up for the Heisman carried for an unimaginable 1786 yards, 21 touchdowns and had averaged over 150 yards a game.
EDGE: Oregon

Wide Receivers
When talking about both team’s offensive strengths, the position of wide receiver is rarely mentioned. Oregon’s Jeff Mahl was clearly Thomas’s number one target as he hauled in 943 yards for 12 touchdowns. There seems to be a parallel relationship between Thomas-Mahl and Auburn’s Newton and Darvin Adams, in which the junior caught for 909 yards and seven scores. Even so, it’s the broader picture that needs to be looked at: the depth of the receiving corps. It looks like that Mahl was the only true option for Thomas [the 2nd best receiver had only 36 grabs for 410 yards] while Newton was able to not only utilize Adams but senior Terrell Zachary (585 yards, 4 tds) and sophomore Emery Blake ( 472 yards, 7 tds).
EDGE: Auburn

Defensive Corps (Tackles/Ends/Linebackers)
No team in this BCS title game has a standout defense but there are some credible qualities about each defensive front. Junior defensive lineman (and soon-to-be 1st round pick) Nick Fairly anchors the Tigers defense with 10 1/2 sacks, 55 total tackles, a forced fumble and an interception. Besides that, it hasn’t been pretty for Auburn on defense, allowing 24.5 points per game in which they were ranked 54th in the nation. On the flip side, Oregon’s 12th ranked defense (18.4 ppg allowed) is something worth watching. With the pass rush coming from senior end Kenny Rowe (91 tackles, 6 sacks, 6 forced fumbles) and linebacker Casey Matthews (72 tackles, 3 sacks, 3 ints), the Ducks will be sure to keep Cam Newton on his toes
EDGE: Oregon

Defensive Backs
It seems to be that Oregon again has the upper hand on Auburn, as the Ducks double the total amount of interceptions the Tigers have, 20 to 10. Sophomores John Boyett and Cliff Harris each account for half of Oregon’s interceptions total (five apiece) and will be a real threat to the Auburn passing game. On the other hand, senior linebacker Josh Bynes for Auburn has been known to slip back into the back field to provide coverage against receivers and his stats back that up: a team leading 71 tackles and 3 interceptions.
EDGE: Oregon

Coaching
This could be a potential toss up for this category. Former coordinator Gene Chizik really got his claim to fame from his years spent as the Texas Longhorns defensive co-coordinator when the Longhorns won the national championship against USC in 2006. With a short-tenured head coaching gig at Iowa State, Auburn hired Chizik, in which he led the Tigers to an Outback Bowl win in 2009 and now to an undefeated record in 2010. Chip Kelly began his career as a head coach in Oregon, as he led the Ducks to an upset victory over then #5 USC to win the Pac-10, sending them into the Rose Bowl only to lose to Ohio State. Kelly has also led the Ducks to an undefeated season.
EDGE: Toss Up

Final Conclusion: Oregon’s offense is too powerful and fast paced for any normal BCS team to handle, especially against a sub-par defense such as Auburn’s. However, it is superhuman quarterback Cam Newton, who has not been stopped against powerhouse SEC teams all year, to come up victorious in this year’s national championship game.

Final Score Prediction: Auburn 42 Oregon 35