The unbeaten champions of the SEC and Pac-10 meet tonight in what promises to be an epic confrontation. Al Dannity breaks down the BCS National Championship Game and makes his call on who will win.
Fairley big deal Auburn’s defensive lineman Nick Fairley is probably going to be the most important player on the field tonight. LaMichael James and Cam Newton are bigger names but Fairley’s performance will go a long way towards deciding the outcome in Glendale. Auburn has the weakest pass defense of any participant in BCS title game history. This isn’t likely to improve dramatically tonight, so Fairley’s performance in getting to Darron Thomas should prove decisive. If the Ducks can contain Fairley then it could be a long night for Tigers’ fans. A typically dominant performance from the big defensive tackle would however take much of the pressure off Auburn’s secondary.
Oregon’s defense must adapt By this stage you have, no doubt, been subjected to dozens of writers and commentators telling you that Cam Newton can be slowed but not stopped. While clichéd, this analysis is accurate with regards to what Oregon’s defense must do. Trying a conventional approach to defending the Heisman Trophy winner simply won’t cut it. This isn’t the first time the Ducks’ have faced a physical mis-match at the line but Newton’s ability to bulldoze from the backfield will be a new experience. The Ducks must utilize their speed advantage to harass the quarterback in the backfield. Oregon won’t be able to completely stifle Newton but by getting to him early they might be able to limit his impact. That was how Clemson and Alabama got on top of Auburn early, although we all know how those games ended.
The Verdict These two teams have come a long way. At the start of the year I didn’t rate the Ducks as the best team in their own state, never mind the nation. Auburn meanwhile got next to no notice in pre-season top 25 lists. A combined 25-0 record has propelled the Tigers and Oregon towards this final date with destiny. Much will rest on the impact players on offense but both these teams are notorious slow-starters. Auburn has an elite defense against the run while Oregon has the #12 overall defense in the nation. That’s why, despite the free-scoring nature of both teams, I like the under of +72.0 at -105 with Sports Interaction. This promises to be a close game, unlike most title games, but in the end I think Oregon’s greater balance on defense and superior special teams play will be enough to win it. Bet on the Oregon Ducks to win as +2.5 underdogs with Sports Interaction.