One Great Season
The OGS editorial team was hoping to crank out 17 BCS National Championship Game preview breakdowns before tonight's kickoff. Please forgive us for only providing you with 15 pieces over the last two weeks.
Below are the links to all of them, as well as to some other recent stories related to Oregon and Auburn. And below that section will be one final preview ending in One Great Season's official prediction for tonight's title tilt. Lastly, don't forget to visit OGS after the game and througout the day Tuesday with post-game coverage and reaction.
+ The Quarterbacks
+ The Running Backs
+ The Receivers
+ The Offensive Lines
+ The Defensive Lines
+ The Linebackers
+ The Defensive Backs
+ Special Teams
+ The Coaches
+ Auburn Rush Offense vs. Oregon Rush Defense
+ Auburn Pass Offense vs. Oregon Pass Defense
+ Oregon Rush Offense vs. Auburn Rush Defense
+ Oregon Pass Offense vs. Auburn Pass Defense
+ Stats, Trends & Other Notes
Some think the long layoff will hurt the Ducks more because their offense is reliant on sharpness, angles, technique and precision. I am not one of them. I'm more inclined to think Auburn's defensive anchor, tackle Nick Fairley, may have enjoyed himself at a postseason banquet or two or downed a few slices of holiday pie. He's Auburn's best chance to disrupt the Oregon offensive flow, and while he'll be the best defensive player on the field for either side, it wouldn't surprise me to see the Ducks come right out at an even more frenetic pace than usual to see what kind of conditioning they're up against. One of two things will happen: the Lombardi Award winner will tire early and the Ducks will be successful, or Fairley and his linemates will be game and Oregon will have to adjust.
So from a cardiovascular perspective, Oregon is more likely to wear the opponent down. But from a physical point-of-view, I give the edge to Auburn. The war of attrition is even.
If everyone stays healthy and the teams play their respective games, I think Oregon has the slightly better chance of winning. In addition to Fairley being the best defensive player in the game, Auburn quarterback Cam Newton will be the best offensive player of the game. Those kinds of superlatives are nice during awards season, but if your goal is a championship, you need the superior team, and that's where Oregon has the advantage. And back to individual players, Oregon will have the second-best defensive player in the game in Casey Matthews and the second-best offensive player, Heisman third-place finisher LaMichael James.
Newton will make big plays and James will make big plays. So if their achievements cancel each other out, what will be the difference? A Cliff Harris touchdown return, either via punt or interception. Oregon wins, 34-30, in a slightly lower-scoring game than everyone's expecting.