Posts Tagged ‘BCS National Championship Picks college football trends’

BCS Bowl Picks: Oregon Ducks vs. Auburn Tigers Keys to the Game

January 7th, 2011 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in College Football   1 Comment »

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For several weeks, we have been anticipating how the BCS National Championship picture would pan out. Once and for all, we know that the Auburn Tigers will be facing off with the Oregon Ducks as the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country, and the winning team will collect the hardware as the National Champions in 2010-11. With still a month to go before the game kicks off, we present the three keys to the biggest game of the year that you need to pay attention to before making your BCS Championship picks. The opening National Championship line features Auburn favored by 2.5 points, while the ‘total’ has been set at 74.5.

Key #1: Auburn’s Defense Must Stop LaMichael James and the Oregon Ground Attack
Last week, when we analyzed this from the standpoint of the Civil War with the Oregon State Beavers, we wished the Beavs good luck. They needed it. The Ducks rushed for 346 yards without QB Darron Thomas even taking a single step past the line of scrimmage on the day. The Quack Attack is averaging 309.9 yards per game this year on the ground, and that is being parlayed into the most points in the nation at 49.3 per game. To make matters worse for the opponents, if you take out that close call at the Cal Golden Bears, Oregon is averaging 323.1 yards per game on the ground, 562.3 yards per game in total, and 52.5 point per game. If the Ducks end up scoring 61 points or more in this one, they would become the highest scoring team in the history of college football. The only team with more was the 2005 Texas Longhorns, who scored 652 points… in 14 games… Oregon would have pulled this feat off in just 13 games. James is clearly going to be a finalist for the Heisman Trophy this year, as he has rushed for 1,702 yards and 21 TDs on the campaign. However, we can’t forget about RB Kenjon Barner and QB Darron Thomas either. Barner has rushed for 537 yards and six scores and just reached the century mark in the Civil War, while Thomas has 496 yards and five TDs on the ground as well. Auburn’s defense has been great against the rush this year, but it has not faced a foe like this all season long. The Tigers ranked No. 9 in the land at just 104.0 yards per game allowed, but they’ll have to really buckle down to keep the Quack Attack under 250 yards in that department.

Key #2: Cameron Newton Must Play Like Vince Young
We’ve already made one comparison in this game to the 2005 Texas Longhorns, and we are about to make our second. QB Cam Newton has drawn all sorts of comparisons to QB Vince Young, whom many thought was the best player that college football had seen until QB Tim Tebow graced the grounds at the University of Florida. There really were no players like Young that could just single handedly tear apart any defense in the country and do so seemingly without ever breaking a sweat. Who could forget about that legendary National Championship Game against the USC Trojans in January 2006 in which he rushed for 200 yards and three TDs and threw for 267 yards, gliding through one of the best defenses that the collegiate ranks had ever seen. Many think that Newton, just a junior, is better than Young is at this stage of his career. After putting up numbers like this, it’s hard to disagree. Newton, in the significantly tougher SEC, has thrown for 2,589 yards and rushed for 1,409 more, and he has thrown for 28 TDs, rushed for 20 TDs, and has one more as a receiver as well. Newton is one of just two players in the history of college football to both throw and rush for at least 20 TDs in the same season, joining Florida’s Tebow. He has also only been picked off six times and has only lost one fumble. Oregon’s defense has been known to have some holes in it, and it clearly never ran up against an offense like this anywhere in the Pac-10 this year, save perhaps against the Stanford Cardinal. However, there are no signal callers like Newton in the Pac-10, and the Ducks are finally going to get a taste of their own medicine. Still, it will be up to Newton to bust open the Oregon defense time and time again to keep up with the scoring pace that the Ducks are clearly going to be going with.

Key #3: Some Star Must Shine Outside of the Two Heisman Candidates
Believe it or not, there are more than just two players in this game! LaMichael James and Cam Newton are both amazing, but they are not the only men on the field. You can bet that after a month of game planning, the defenses are going to be keyed in on the two studs. However, there are some other men to watch, and inevitably, one of these guys is going to be the difference maker that wins the title for his school. For Auburn, the men to really keep an eye on are DT Nick Fairley, RB Michael Dyer, RB Onterio McCalebb, and WR Darvin Adams. Adams caught that ridiculous Hail Mary pass at the end of the first half of the SEC Championship Game, and he broke the SEC Championship Game record with 217 yards on seven receptions with a pair of scores… and all of those stats came in the first half. Dyer rushed for 950 yards and five scores this year, while McCalebb had 763 yards and nine TDs. Fairley is going to be the top defensive player from either of these teams, and he is the difference maker in the middle of the defensive line that will be responsible for closing down the inside ground game of the Ducks. On the other side of the field, we know that freshman S John Boyett, the team’s leader in INTs, is going to have to be at his best on the game’s biggest stage. We’ve already spoken about what RB Kenjon Barner has the ability to do, but we can’t forget about WR Jeffrey Maehl either. Maehl has been up and down at times this year, but he has 943 yards and 12 scores on a team high 68 receptions. Looking for a dark horse that could be a real difference maker for Oregon? Don’t forget about WR Josh Huff. Huff has done a little bit of everything this year, as he has 13 carries for 210 yards, 19 receptions for 303 yards, and 534 kick return yards with a total of six TDs.