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The BCS National Championship is one of the oldest bowl games that we, the college football betting nation, has a chance to catch on an annual basis. This year, two old division rivals meet up in Arlington, as the Auburn Tigers try to tame the Oregon Ducks.
BCS National Championship Game Matchup: Oregon Ducks vs. Auburn Tigers
Date: Monday, January 10th, 8:30 ET
Location: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ
BCS National Championship Line: Auburn -2.5
Ducks Notes: There is no doubting the fact that the Quack Attack was absolutely fantastic this year, blowing through the Pac-10 with very few problems. The only real snafu came in a brutal 15-13 win over the Cal Golden Bears back on November 13th. Aside from that, there wasn't a win that came by fewer than 11 points this year, and there was never a game that was in any sort of doubt in the fourth quarter. It's going to take an absolutely boatload of points to make happen, but the U of O has a chance to become the top scoring offense by average in the history of college football. This team ranks No. 1 in the country both in total yardage at 542.1 yards per game and No. 1 in scoring at 49.3 points per game. The Ducks hold up those fancy play cards with faces, numbers, colors, etc. on them, they get the play, and they go. They played 12 games this year and ran a total of 935 plays, an average of nearly 78 per game. QB Darron Thomas gets all the credit in the world for coming in and leading this offense in spite of the fact that he was No. 3 on the depth chart at the start of the Spring last year. He hopped over QB Nathan Costa and took over for QB Jeremiah Masoli, who was booted off of the team. Thomas threw for 2,500 yards and 28 TDs and had 492 yards and five scores on the ground as well. Speaking of the ground game, there might not be a better running back tandem in the land than that of Heisman Trophy runner up RB LaMichael James and RB Kenjon Barner. James had 1,702 yards and 21 TDs this year in just 11 starts, while Barner had just 81 carries, but picked up 537 yards and six TDs to boot. WR Jeffrey Maehl is inevitably going to be a part of the action as well on the outside. He had 68 receptions for 943 yards and 12 TDs this year.
Tigers Notes: Then there is Auburn, which many perceive to be a one man band with QB Cam Newton. There's no denying that this man is one of the scariest players to try to defend in college football. He threw for 2,589 yards and 28 scores on the year, and he rushed for 1,409 yards and 20 more TDs. Granted, he had an extra game to do all of this damage in, but unlike Oregon, the Tigers played in the rough and tumble SEC and were challenged quite a bit at the beginning of the season. There are two fantastic backs to work with at Auburn as well this year. RB Michael Dyer needs just 50 yards to become a 1,000 yard back on the year, and he has found the end zone five times, while RB Onterio McCalebb had 763 yards and nine TDs, and he averaged 8.6 yards per carry on the campaign. The last time we saw WR Darvin Adams, he was breaking all of the SEC Championship Game records in just one half of football, as he had seven catches for 217 yards and two scores, all of which came in the first half against the South Carolina Gamecocks. What we need to remember is that Auburn isn't just an offensive club either. This defense was the real deal in the SEC, led by DL Nick Fairley, who is sure to be a Top 10 pick in the NFL Draft if he elects to come out of school early. This unit allowed just 354.5 yards per game this year and ranked No. 7 in the country against the rush at 104.0 yards per game. Opponents only averaged 24.5 points per game, a far cry from the 42.7 points per game that the Tigers averaged on offense. If you like a fast paced game, Offensive Coordinator Gus Malzahn will do the trick for you. He had Auburn snap the ball 856 times this year, an average of nearly 66 times per game.
The Final Word: Offense very well could ultimately be the word for these two teams in the title game, but we aren't so sure that either team is going to be in the swing of things after having over six weeks off at the outset. Auburn has the better defense in this game, and it appears to really be a touched team this season. Allegations about Newton or not, the Tigers just keep beating the odds and beating every single team on their schedule. They'll wrap up a fantastic bowl season for the SEC by winning the BCS Championship Game with relative ease against the Ducks.
BCS National Championship Free Pick: Auburn -2.5
BCS National Championship Prediction: Auburn 34 – Oregon 23