Monday, January 10, 2011

Championship Preview

Auburn (13-0) vs. Oregon (12-0)
     I have a great deal of disdain when we refer to this as the championship game, because it is a fallacy at best when you also have an undefeated 13-0 TCU team sitting in the wings. TCU would be able to claim a stake in this title in any sane world. That being said, tonight is the final night of our 2010 college football season, and we have a big game tonight. Let's break it down by position...

Obviously, Money Newton gets the nod here over Auburn. He is a stellar athlete (albeit corrupt) and will be the better QB on the field tonight. Newton is a beast of a player, and has passed for 2589 yards while rushing for another 1238. He has a combined 48 TDs on the season, which is an unfathomable number. Let's not forget that he has only been picked 6 times all season.
Let us not, however, dismiss Darron Thomas, who has had an incredibly season on his own merits for the Ducks. Thomas has passed for 2518 yards, while rushing for another 421 yards, and has combined for 33 scores on the season. He also has slightly more to work with as far as weapons. That said, my edge still goes to...

With Newton hogging the ball at times, Auburn did not generate another 1000 yard rusher in 2010. That does not mean that they lack depth and talent. Michael Dyer and Onterrio McCaleb combined for 1663 yards on the season, and rushed for 14 TDs. Both rushed for well over 5 yards per carry on the season.
The Ducks, however, have a one-two punch that surpasses that. LaMichael James became the man at Oregon last season, and he just keeps on trucking. James rushed for 1578 yards and 21 TDs this season, and once he gains traction in the open field, you can forget all about him. Kenjon Barner may only have 501 yards on the season, but when he gets the ball, he is every bit as able as James to break one loose. I give the edge to...

The Tigers had 3 receivers go over the 500 yard mark this season, with Darvin Adams being the leading man. Adams grabbed 48 catches for 909 yards and 7 scores on the season, which is solid, but hardly scorching. Terrell Zachary went for 557 yards and 7 scores, while Emory Blake went for 500 yards and 7 scores. Phillip Lutzenkirchen will be the guy to watch in the red zone.
The Ducks only had one player go over 500 yards this season, and that is Jeff Maehl. Maehl has 68 catches for 943 yards and 12 TDs. David Paulson and Lavasier Tuinei both only played in 9 games this season. That being said, Oregon scores on short and quick drives.
I give the edge to... it even

Auburn scores a ton, but it's on Newton for the most part. The line has given him ample time to pass on occasion, but if you saw the Alabama game, this line was swiss cheese for an entire half.
Oregon is smaller up front, but the quick strike offense does not allow a defense to get into the backfield. The line is fast and athletic, and they get it done. very few teams have been able to infiltrate the backfield, and their run block skills are insane.
Edge goes to...

D Line
Nick Fairly is a disruptive player with 55 tackles on the season for Auburn. He has 21 TFLs on the season along with 10.5 sacks. That being said, no other D Lineman for Auburn has 5 this season. and only Antoine Carter has double digit TFLs at 10.
Brandon Bair and Kenny Rowe form one hell of a tandem for the Ducks. They combined for 83 tackles this season, and Bair has 15.5 TFLs while Rowe has 11.5. Zac Clark adds 8.5 for the Ducks.
The Edge goes to...

Josh Bynes is the player to watch for Auburn at this spot, with 71 tackles on the season. He and Demond Washington both have 5.5 TFLs on the season, but Bynes only has 1 sack on the year.
Casey Matthews and Spencer Paysinger on monsters at LB for the Ducks, as they combined for 141 tackles on the season. they have a combined 15 TFLs on the year, and they each have 3 sacks.
Edge to...

Auburn does not pick off a ton of passes. As a matter of fact, Bynes leads the Tigers with just 3 on the season.
Oregon is very opportunistic with picks, as Cliff Harris and Josh Boyett each have 5, and Matthews adds another 3. The Ducks have picked off 20 passes in 2010, while Auburn has picked off just 10. The Ducks have only allowed 13 TD passes, while Auburn has allowed 23.
Edge to...

No edge, as both have hit on 75%.

Return Game
Oregon has Cliff Harris. End of story.

I pick...
With the Ducks diversified offense and furious attacking defense, it becomes plain to me that Auburn has not seen a team like this all season long. Oregon has not seen a player like Money Newton either, but they have seen players like everyone else that they have. Chip Kelly will find a way to attack Newton, and while he will not completely neutralize him, he will find ways to minimlize him.
The big war will be between Nick Alliotti's defense, and Gus Malzahn's offense, but at the end of the day, I believe Oregon to have what it takes to win the game tonight, as the Ducks have more depth, and the ability to have several players step up to take the spotlight. Without Cam Newton having his best game, the Tigers cannot keep up.

Enjoy the game tonight, and remember, just because the season ends tonight, does not mean that the Bilo College Football Report goes off the air. Lots of great stuff to come this week and in the weeks following, so stick right here for lots of fun stuff coming up throughout the off-season, including post season breakdowns and lots of other fun stuff.

See you soon.

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