No. 2 Oregon Ducks (12-0 SU, 7-4-1 ATS) vs. No. 1 Auburn Tigers (13-0
SU, 9-4 ATS), BCS National Championship Game, 8:30 p.m. EST, Monday,
January 10, 2011, University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz., TV:
by Badger of Predictem.com
Betting Odds: U of O +3/Aub -3
Over/Under Total: 74
Whether you agree with the process of how the BCS chooses the teams
or not, this season you have to agree that we have the matchup
everyone has wanted for weeks when the No. 1-ranked Auburn Tigers and the No. 2-ranked Oregon Ducks meet in the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game in University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale,
Arizona, on January 10th.
Both Auburn and Oregon have followed nearly identical paths to get to
the BCS title game, running the table in the conference season and
surviving an in-state rivalry game in their regular season finale to
set up a date with destiny.
Both teams have also proven they are worthy of playing for the title
with multiple come-from-behind victories too. Auburn gained the most
attention with their huge comeback against Alabama in the Iron Bowl,
one of the seven times the Tigers rallied to win, but it was actually
the Ducks that had more fourth quarter rallies with eight over the
course of the season.
The BCS title game will also have the marquee names commanding the
headlines, with Auburns Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton and
Oregons third-place runner-up LaMichael James leading two talent-
rich teams ready for a score-for-score battle for the crystal football.
The opening betting line out of Las Vegas listed the top-ranked
Tigers as 3-point favorites in the desert, with a very large 74.5
over/under total on the board. With over five weeks to wait before
kickoff the number is sure to move at some point, but as of right now
the only change is that the hook has been dropped to make the total
74 at most sportsbooks on the Web.
With two dynamic offenses on the field, a lot of folks are predicting
a shootout for the title.
Auburn is led by Newton, who won the Heisman with unbelievable
numbers (2,500 yards 28 TDs passing; 1,400 yards 20 TDs rushing), but
its his ability to lead his team back from adversity that has been
kept Auburn undefeated and in this game in the first place.
While UO can boast about an offense that leads the country in
scoring (49.33 ppg), is just barely second in total offense at a
remarkable 537.5 yards a contest, and one that possesses perhaps the
best one-two punch in all of college football with quarterback Darron
Thomas joining James in a Ducks backfield that runs for over 300
yards a game.
With all of this production and talent on offense, its obvious that
the team that plays the best defense will likely win the game. But
judging which unit is strong enough to contain the other team isnt
all that easy since both units have had up-n-down seasons.
Auburns defense is very stout up front, and led by tackle Nick
Fairley they are one of the best run-stuffing units in the NCAA (104
ypg 9th). But their secondary has had issues at times giving up big
plays and big yardage (250.5 ypg 105th), and they havent faced
anything like the up-tempo attack of the Ducks in the SEC this
season. The Tigers also allowed 24.5 points per game in the SEC, a
total the Ducks spread-option attack of Chip Kelly and coordinator
Mark Helfrich will surely look to exploit.
Oregons defense is statistically stronger than the Tigers, allowing
just 327.8 yards per game (27th) and only 18.4 points per game
(19th), but they too have given up yards by the dozen at times and is
a fast unit that relies on their speed to the ball as opposed to just
plain size and brute force. Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn
is great at finding a weakness in the unit and attacking it, going
off tackle, wide, or in the air with Newton throwing it where he sees
the chink in the defenses armor.
The Ducks defense is strong at creating and recovering turnovers
though, finishing the season at plus-13 in the turnover ratio, so the
battle for Newton and the Auburn offense will be to not let the Quack Attack
capitalize on any mistakes.
The other dynamic that needs to be considered is the old Heisman
Trophy jinx in national title games. In the eight times the Heisman
winner went on to play for the national title, the Heisman-winners
team is just 2-6 SU in those eight games. After spending the month of
December on the banquet circuit collecting awards, well see if
Newton is a biscuit short of 300 pounds or if hes the dynamic
playmaker he was prior to all of the accolades.
Without any history between these teams theres really not to many
betting trends to consider. The Ducks are 5-1 ATS in their last six
bowl games as the listed underdog, while Auburn is 1-4 ATS in their
last five non-conference games.
The strongest trend might be to wager on the under. The under is a
strong 4-1 in Oregons last five bowl games, and an even stronger 7-1
in Auburns last eight bowl games. With all of the offense on the
field, the under might just be the perfect off the radar type of
pick that cashes in against all odds.
Badgers Pick to Cover the Point Spread: With 30 days still on the calendar before this games
kicks off, theres still plenty of time for injuries, suspensions,
and other things that might change my mind. But as of now Im leaning
toward Auburn to complete their Cinderella season. Take Auburn minus