>Saturday Lunch Special: BCS Preview

Posted: January 1, 2011 in college football, ncaafb
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By TSL Staff

 

Brett Anderson

There is only a handful of people whose opinion about the national title game is more skewed that my own. To name a few, probably Cam Newton, Gene Chizik and maybe even Cadillac Williams. I hate Oregon. With a passion that stretches from Oregon’s awful campus in Eugene, Ore., all the way to Auburn’s pleasant campus in Alabama. And back to Eugene again. And back to Auburn. 1,504,938 more times back and forth.

 

As an avid (understatement) Oregon State fan, nothing in this world displeases me than everything green and yellow that has to do with the Oregon Ducks. I’m still slightly perplexed that LaMichael James’ eight days in jail and misdemeanor assault only earned him a one game suspension. In a world that revolves around me, he would never be allowed on Oregon’s campus again. Alas, he played 11 games for the Ducks and helped them earn a spot in the National Championship versus Auburn.

 

Without further ado, my thoughts on this year’s National Title game. Auburn will win 37-34 because they have a young man named Cam Newton who won the Heisman Trophy after his outstanding junior season, among many other awards. Because they have aren’t named the Oregon Ducks, this immediately gives them an unbeatable edge in this game. Points will be scored, but not too many. I would take the “under” on the over/under. The 143 commercials in each half will slightly slow down the game, and allow each team to catch its breath a little more often than usual. 

 

Rose Bowl: Wisconsin over TCU

A great battle of traditional football on both sidelines: a great rushing attack and strong defense. John Clay and the Badgers claim a win on New Year’s Day. 

Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma over Connecticut

An unfortunately unappealing matchup for this BCS bowl. However, I think Connecticut will make this game much closer than most expect. Hey, who knows, maybe Connecticut can win 90 games in a row… 

Orange Bowl: Stanford over Virginia Tech

Andrew Luck and the boys prepare better than any team in the country in regards to executing fundamentals and taking away opposing foes’ strengths. How filthy will Stanford be if Andrew Luck and head coach Jim Harbaugh both return next season? 

Sugar Bowl: Ohio State over Arkansas

The Buckeyes did a good job last year getting a bowl win and slowing down a superior offense (Oregon). This year, I think they’ll prepare well to slow down Ryan Mallet and the Razorbacks, en route to a second straight BCS win. As long as it isn’t the national championship, Ohio State can win BCS games.

 

Will Robinson

While I have not followed college football as devoutly as Dylan has, I have seen a couple games of the number one and two teams in the country: Auburn and Oregon. Each team has compiled a list of impressive wins (AUB vs. Arkansas and South Carolina; ORE vs. Stanford and Arizona) as well as narrow victories (Clemson, LSU, Alabama; Cal). One team boasts a Heisman winner and the other has a candidate. Both offenses are very high powered, and both have very high-powered running attacks. However, Oregon’s defense has allowed the 14th least amount of points in the country, while Auburn has allowed 24.5 – not bad, but 54th in the country.

 

While I don’t want to count out the powerful (and soon to have his wins vacated) Cam Newton, I like the team Chip Kelly has built in Eugene. One knock on the Ducks is that people say the SEC is far superior to the Pac-10, which has not been true this year. They may have better teams, but there is far more parity out west.

 

With all that being said, I like the Ducks to pull out a dramatic win against the Auburn Tigers, with a final tally being 38-36. This could be a classic game, not like Texas vs. USC in 2005, but very dramatic. Go Ducks!

 

Rose Bowl: TCU-28 Wisconsin-25

Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma-41 UConn-13

Orange Bowl: Stanford- 34 Virginia Tech-24

Sugar Bowl: Ohio State-24 Arkansas-23

 

Nick Gallaudet

This year’s BCS national championship game pits two dynamic offenses against each other, setting the stage for a shootout, right? In the words of Lee Corso, “Not so fast my friend.” Both Auburn and Oregon have proved they can be slowed down, and both have proved they have underrated defenses. I expect that having over a month off will affect the game play early, but that both teams will find their groove. I expect Oregon to struggle in the first half, so look for Cam Newton to lead Auburn to an early lead, and while Oregon will put up a good fight, I don’t see them overcoming Man-Child Newton as he leads Auburn to a 24-20 win and a BCS title.

 

Rose Bowl: TCU-28 Wisconsin-21

Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma-34 UConn-17

Orange Bowl: Stanford-24 Virginia Tech-10

Sugar Bowl: Arkansas-28 Ohio State-27

 

Robb Davis

Auburn Wins National Title over Oregon*

 

This: * is an asterisk (see title). It is with an * that I begin my prediction about this BCS season and most notably the title game. My “bold” prediction:

 

In two, three or five years, if you turn to the section on BCS Championship games in the College Football Encyclopedia you will find an * next to the score with a note at the bottom saying that Auburn, while having won the game, was subsequently stripped of the title due to evidence of player misconduct in a “pay to play” scheme. Turn over a few pages to the Heisman Trophy winners’ section in the same encyclopedia and you will find another * next to the 2010 winner, Cam Newton. Another footnote will inform you that he was forced to relinquish the trophy due to misconduct in said pay to play scheme. This will be the second such relinquishment in six years (Reggie Bush being the first in 2005).

 

There you have it: Auburn wins. And in the next year or so the “truth” comes out. Football fans will sigh. The NCAA will wring its collective hands. Cam Newton—having signed a gazillion dollar contract after the 2010 season—will express regret (but flash his well-known smile as he leaves the press conference ten minutes later). His dad will claim he was a victim of the rapacious advances of sports agent even as he puts the finishing touches on his new multi-million dollar church building.  And… the players on the current Auburn team will wonder why they are being punished for things they honestly knew nothing about.

 

Things could have been different. The NCAA had its chance. It chose “brand” integrity over, well… integrity, when it declared: “Based on the information available to the reinstatement staff at this time, we do not have sufficient evidence that Cam Newton or anyone from Auburn was aware of this activity, which led to his reinstatement.” More on the “brand integrity” in a moment. But let’s get this straight. Do they really believe that Cam Newton was not “aware” of what his dad was doing? I guess I just must agree. I also believe firmly that Floyd always rode clean, that Ben was framed in those (multiple) forced sex cases, that Gaylord did not even know what Vaseline was (look it up all you youngsters), that Diego’s goal really WAS scored by God Almighty himself… Please, we are talking about adults here. Cam was not some child asked to leave the kitchen while daddy talked to the big, bad agent. 

 

(Oh and note to “Reverend” Newton: Did you miss the memo? You know, the one from the Big Guy (delivered via his son) about camels, eyes of needles, riches and heaven and all that stuff? I suggest you look it up (Gospel of St Matthew, Chapter 19). Ah, but I am being uncharitable to my Brother Newton.  Okay Rev, I forgive you… Unconditionally. Seriously. Now, would you please go on national TV as soon as possible and confess your sin in this thing? Good for the soul and you will save everyone a lot of pain later.)

 

You and I know what the NCAA is doing here: just doing business. ESPN is carrying the game and they, and the NCAA, simply cannot resist the potential draw of an amazingly gifted, handsome athlete for their “championship” game. Now it’s true that Ad Week says that ESPN garners relatively little of its overall revenue from TV advertisements of the BCS Championship game (most are generated by fees it charges to carriers of its feed). But, getting the right kind of match-ups (and the viewership they provide) is important in future negotiations (see the whole revenue story here. Arguably, it is more important for the NCAA itself to guarantee a “marquee” match-up. After all, it is the NCAA brand being sold to ESPN and the networks and the NCAA’s refusal to go with a championship format in the FBS means it needs to “manage” outcomes to get the highest profile teams and players into the “big game.”

 

So in two (or three or five) years from now when they sadly acknowledge that new evidence suggests that Auburn must be placed on probation and/or stripped of its title they have little (really) to worry about. The revenue from 2010 will already be in the bank. Their “product” will survive and will flourish—no doubt at all. After all, by then the next great phenom will have been created, pimped, and sent forth to conquer our hearts. And, have no doubt, our hearts will be conquered.

 

But in these pre-* times Auburn will win by three touchdowns (49-28). Cam will account for five of these directly: two on the ground three through the air. Oregon will commit three turnovers and mostly get pushed around. Don’t get me wrong here—I want Oregon to win. I love their style and I love the fact that lots of small guys can fly around the field so fast that the bigger guys can’t catch them. I like their coach (for now). Their uniforms do baffle me. I mean, what’s with the off-white names on white jerseys? Give me something I can read or just go “cold-Paterno” please.  Anyway, I digress. Oregon is too small.Auburn defense is too athletic (they suck at technique but they are big and fast). 

 

BTW, you may be wondering, given my cynicism about this situation, whether I am actually going to watch the game. After all, doesn’t that make me complicit in this whole thing and kind of a hypocrite? Maybe. But for me, there are well over 100 other players involved in this game the vast majority (all?) of whom play by the rules. I played team sport at the college level (small college, long time ago) but I can tell you that team sports really do have lessons that play out in broader life issues. These guys love each other and, whether some people want to acknowledge it or not, they have given up some things because of their commitment to the team. They deserve our support and, dare I say it, our admiration. 

 

Other BCS predictions (no *es here)

Rose Bowl: Wisconsin-42 TCU-10

Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma-24 UConn-3

Orange Bowl: Stanford-28 Virginia Tech-24

Sugar Bowl: Ohio State-24 Arkansas-21

 

Dylan Davis

Ohio State in 2003. LSU in 2004. Texas in 2006. Florida in 2007. Since the BCS began in January of the 1999 season all of those teams have entered the BCS title game as decided underdogs and all have been crowned the title after 60 minutes (or in Ohio States case, 60 plus two overtimes). I bring this up because Auburn is currently a three-point favorite over the Ducks of Oregon and everyone believes Cameron Newton will do his Heisman thing against an overmatched northwest defense. Nick Fairley and the Auburn run defense has been decent and shut down Marcus Lattimore in the SEC championship game and the consensus is that they will be able to slow down the Oregon read option.

 

Oregon fans, I’m here to talk you off the ledge. College sports are such a momentum and emotion driven game that it’s difficult to say that one thing or another will continue to happen time and time again. Just because Auburn has been able to handle teams all year doesn’t mean the same will happen on January 10. When teams have to hear about how badly they are going to lose for a month straight, it tends to make them play their asses off to show everyone that they belong on the field too. Chip Kelly is a good enough coach that he will have his squad motivated through newspaper clippings and quotes about their shortcomings.

 

Not only will Oregon be motivated to prove the critics wrong, history is not on Cam Newton’s side. In 2000 (Chris Weinke), 2001 (Eric Crouch), 2003 (Jason White), 2005 (Reggie Bush), 2006 (Troy Smith), and 2008 (Sam Bradford) all won the Heisman trophy while leading their teams to the BCS title game. All of them also ended up losing in the title game, and most of the fault fell on them. To be fair, when you win the Heisman trophy there are a ton of obligations and you’re being pulled in every direction. It’s hardly the ideal conditions to prepare for the biggest game of your life.

 

With all that being said, I think we could witness the best BCS game since the 2006 Rose Bowl. Both of these teams are explosive, second half teams, so expect a ton of points in the second half and a down to the wire finish.

Pick: Oregon-31 Auburn-27

 

Rose Bowl: Wisconsin-27 TCU-16

Fiesta Bowl: UConn-27 Oklahoma-24

Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech-28 Stanford-24

Sugar Bowl: Arkansas-31 Ohio State-23

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