Auburn beats South Carolina in an instant classic

I can’t believe that I’m writing this, but here is the last Fearless Friday Forecast for the 2010 regular season:

1. Auburn vs. South Carolina (SEC championship): I didn’t think the SEC championship game could ever get better than the last two between Florida and Alabama. In both cases the winner knew it would be in the BCS championship game. But this game is just as big because of some additional storylines:

**–The controversy surrounding Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, which has subsided just a little with a controversial ruling by the NCAA that he is eligible.

**–Auburn having a shot to play for its first national championship since 1957 and perhaps getting payback for 2004, when the Tigers went 13-0 and didn’t a chance to play for the crystal football.

**–Auburn having a chance to give the SEC its fifth straight national championship.

To those good story lines you add the return of Steve Spurrier–The Head Ball Coach–to the game for the first time in 10 years. He won it six times as a Florida Gator and now has the Gamecocks in Atlanta for the first time ever.

If Spurrier wins he would have seven SEC championships and would be second on the all-time list only to Alabama’s Bear Bryant.

This is great stuff. The game? If South Carolina can run the ball a little bit, then this will be a nail-biter until the very end. And there is something special about this Auburn team, which has rallied from double-digit deficits four times this season to win. The Tigers won’t fall behind by double digits but it will fall behind and then rally in the fourth quarter. The final, in an instant classic: Auburn 35, South Carolina 31.

2. Virginia Tech vs. Florida State (ACC championship, Charlotte): If Virginia Tech (10-2) had not stumbled out of the gate at 0-2 with close losses to Boise State (33-30) and James Madison (21-16) the Hokies would be in the national championship discussion right now. But now Virginia Tech has won 10 straight games and will be trying to win its fourth ACC championship in seven years of membership. Florida State (9-3) made huge strides under first-year coach Jimbo Fisher, who replaced the legend, Bobby Bowden. I like the Hokies in a close game. Virginia Tech 28, Florida State 24.

3. Oklahoma vs. Nebraska (Big 12 championship, Arlington, Tex.): It’s kind of fitting that Nebraska’s last game as a member of the Big 12 should be against Oklahoma. For so long these old rivals played “The” game in the old Big Eight. And when the Big 12 conference was formed the yearly battle went away. The game features two old friends as coaches–Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops and Nebraska’s Bo Pelini. They both grew up in Youngstown, Ohio and played at Cardinal Mooney High School. I’m going with Oklahoma because the Sooners have the hot quarterback. Landry Jones has thrown for 1,853 yards and 17 touchdowns in his last five games. Oklahoma 27, Nebraska 21.

4. Oregon at Oregon State (The Civil War): It’s very simple for No. 2 Oregon. Go to Corvallis and win and the Ducks have a date with somebody for the BCS national championship on Jan. 10. The Ducks missed a big bullet on Nov. 13 when they won at California 15-13. The rest of their opponents could not keep up with a fast-break offense that leads the nation in scoring (50.45 points per game). This game will be close for a half because of the emotion involved. But the Ducks wear you down with a relentless pace. Oregon 42, Oregon State 21.

5. Connecticut at South Florida: Randy Edsall, a former assistant coach at Georgia Tech, did one of the best coaching jobs ever in 2009 when he held his team together after the death of popular player Jasper Howard. That Connecticut team won its last four games, including a victory over South Carolina in a bowl game. This season the Huskies started 3-4 overall and 0-2 in the Big East. If they can win at South Florida (7-4) on Saturday, Connecticut will go to the first BCS Bowl (Fiesta) in school history. USF is coached by Skip Holtz, who was the head coach at UConn from 1994-98. The Bulls are coming off a 23-20 upset of Miami last week. Connecticut 21, USF 20.

348 comments Add your comment

A Better Question

December 3rd, 2010
8:51 am

Who cares on any of them?

Tomsjeep88

December 3rd, 2010
8:57 am

Just wondering what would happen if the NCAA did indeed make Cam Newton ineligible yesterday. Not that we ever know what or how the NCAA thinks, but if they declared CM ineligible, would AU go to the SECCG with a backup QB? Or would Arkansas be told on Thursday that they need to be in Atlanta in two days for a date with USCe? Something stinks here with the NCAA, and I don’t think this Newton thing is over yet.

brandon

December 3rd, 2010
9:00 am

roll tide roll that is how we roll and rollin like a mother

Joey

December 3rd, 2010
9:01 am

“getting payback for 2004″
____________________

Tony, if there is something called payback, how about the SEC teams that deserve payback from losses to Auburn in the numerous seasons in which they afterwards put on several years NCAA probation.

Auburn has a history of paying players, and now it’s hard to believe Auburn paid Cam and Cecil?

Consider:

Pat Dye, legendary HC and AD, resigns and must disassociate himself from Auburn for a pay-for- play scheme comes to light.

Former HC Bowden says Auburn boosters were routinely paying recruits $12,000 – $15,000 to sign with Auburn when he became coach, even while Auburn was on NCAA probation from the Dye mess.

Former OC Tony Franklin says, “If I told you what goes on at Auburn, it would make headlines on the National Enquirer.”

Oct, 2010, several businessmen and Auburn Boosters are arrested by FBI in a bribery case where wiretaps were used for up to a year.

When the FBI finishes its case, and shares the wiretaps with the NCAA, the hammer is coming down on Auburn.

joe

December 3rd, 2010
9:01 am

So hope Nebraska sticks it to OU and the rest of the big 12 (little 10 next year) by winning the title in their last attempt.

Shane

December 3rd, 2010
9:04 am

Isn’t Meyer really the play caller and designer of the offense at Florida? It hasn’t changed much since his days at Bowling Green. Kind of like Saban at Bama, it’s his defense and Kirby manages it? Just wondering if this just Meyer covering his @@@ and quieting the fan base in Gatorland.

Paul N Destin

December 3rd, 2010
9:06 am

Auburn’s lawyers kicked the SEC and NCAA lawyers azz on this one. The powers on the Auburn BOT are running this show folks and they’re all in regardless to what happens down the road. You have to understand the inferiority complex that Auburn cares with them daily. They don’t care about what they will face once the Colonial and the other investigation with the vote buying is complete. The Cam deal is just another piece of the process thath will end Auburn for many years but again these folks don’t Care!!! They want that trophy more than what happens next year or the year following. Think like a fool and you then can understand Auburn much better. A trophy will make them someone for a short period of time and that is all it matters to them. Look back on their conduct after beating UGA…enough said..These are the facts and they’re undeniable.

CharlotteGator

December 3rd, 2010
9:06 am

MURPHY –

Please don’t toy with our emotions like that. Similar to Atlanta Gator, don’t wish the guy harm, but he has to go. My wife was able to predict the play calls all season long with the putrid Gator offense, and while she’s really smart, I can’t imagine opposing DC’s couldn’t complete the same feat.

CFB Prognosticator

December 3rd, 2010
9:13 am

CharlotteGator,

Not as if it hasn’t been said before, but success usually relies more on the Jimmies and Joes than the X’s and O’s.

Get a new TV to enjoy the game more

December 3rd, 2010
9:15 am

Dawgtards will, of course, be watching the SEC championship at home as usual. Teams that finish 6-6 just don’t play in a lot of championship games. Unfortunately nothing is going to change until UGA changes its mediocre coaching. That’s where the difference is, and that’s why everyone outside Dawgtard Nation just laughs at Dawg fans getting so excited year after year about what a great recruiting class UGA gets. It doesn’t matter how many blue chip high school players go to UGA, they simply don’t get the coaching they would get at Florida or Alabama, to name two schools whose programs are far ahead of UGA. And that’s not going to change as long as Mark Richt is in Athens.

Get your heads out of the sand and face reality. And mediocrity and irrelevance.

MURPHY

December 3rd, 2010
9:16 am

Atl Gator,Charlotte Gator,

I was told this by a Coach close to the Gator program.Im a UGA fan so I have no real wish he stays or goes.I do agree that he isnt the man for the job at UF. Adazzio is just as predictable in his play calling as Bobo is at UGA.

Adios perritos

December 3rd, 2010
9:18 am

Boise State 66, UGA 17.

CharlotteGator

December 3rd, 2010
9:18 am

CFB Prognosticator,

Agreed. Playcalling is a lot easier when you have Percy Harvin and Louis Murphy on the field. That said, Addazio was also very suspect at getting the right players on the field and/or in the right spots. Debose was one of the more dangerous players on offense and never saw the field. He was a nightmare on special teams and then could never get on the field. SA was also determined to get Deonte Thompson the ball even though he had terrible hands all season and didn’t produce. Jordan Reed didn’t see the field nearly enough either.

While the Gators had talent, the players weren’t good enough to overcome a defense that literally knew exactly what was coming at them nearly 75-80% of the game.

Crash

December 3rd, 2010
9:20 am

Civil War? The Tenn-KY game could be considered that….if it was a rivalry .It’s not in football, they just happen to be close and in the same conference.

ShellDawg

December 3rd, 2010
9:20 am

Dear Tony: please Yahoo.com’s article about Scam Newton “opening Pandora’s box”. The article absolutely destroys your argument and it would serve you well to read it. Further, I wish that same talented writer would destroy your flawed logic about the Georgia-Florida game being played in the Gators’ backyard every year (”that’s the way it’s always been done…the tradition of condos at St. Simons…my frat bros and I have always gone down there and played golf…). Dude, seriously.

CharlotteGator

December 3rd, 2010
9:21 am

MURPHY -

I hope you’re right, although as a UGA fan, I’d expect you to want Addazio there as long as possible. :)

To be very honest, all year I’ve told anyone who’d listen that I now can empathize with what FSU fans went through with Jeff Bowden and what UGA fans are dealing with due to Bobo. It’s not fun, and I can totally understand and relate to the frustration felt.

MURPHY

December 3rd, 2010
9:21 am

Shane,

Urban doesnt call the play,s although he is active in the offensive scheme’s. Urban will make changes,he wont go thru another year like this I assure you of that.I am very surprised that Brantley wasnt benched in favor of Reed.All my Gator buddies tell me that is the one fault of Urban-He is to loyal at times with his players and wont pull or bench them when needed.

Snarky

December 3rd, 2010
9:22 am

If you’re slamming the ACCCG, then don’t watch. It’s that simple.

USCe in an upset.
Noles in a close one.

GO ‘NOLES!

MURPHY

December 3rd, 2010
9:23 am

Charlotte,

Dont get me wrong I do laugh at UF struggling but in hind-sight its not good for the SEC to have upper tier teams like UF non competative like they were this year.

Gen Neyland

December 3rd, 2010
9:24 am

All I have to add is Good Luck to all playing this Saturday and entertain me, the viewer. As Atlanta Gator likes to say, ” May the best team win. They usually do.”
(side note) : Here’s to hoping Tennessee gets the Music City (selfish ol’ me might get to go home to Smashville for a few days). I know 6-6 isn’t the most beautiful and successful of seasons but for CDD to take his squad of youngsters bowling, plus the additional practice time, we’ll take it 2010. GBO

Undeniable facts?

December 3rd, 2010
9:25 am

Look back on their conduct after beating UGA…enough said..These are the facts and they’re undeniable.

Oh no you don’t. They’re not undeniable just because you say so.

Auburn players and fans behavior was impeccable before during, and after the game.

Stop being such a sore loser. If you’re really tired of losing, get rid of Mark Richt, he’s your problem.

MURPHY

December 3rd, 2010
9:26 am

Gen Neyland,

You should be excited bout UT next year.They will be good. Being a UGA fan,Im not looking forward to the trip to Knoxville in 2011. LOL

Shane

December 3rd, 2010
9:27 am

Murphy,

Maybe Urban needs to call the plays. LOl. That rotating 3 qb stuff made me dizzy. And looking at the results it made the Gator players dizzy as well.

CharlotteGator

December 3rd, 2010
9:28 am

Shane,

I echo MURPHY’s sentiments. Urban certainly deserves some of the criticism as he’s involved in the gameplans and tacitly approves Addazio’s approach. The main problem however lies with Addazio’s predictable nature and lack of agression. His “on schedule” mentality meant that most of the year, DC’s simply had to defend a run on 1st down, a play for 3-4 yards on second down, and the deadly 3rd and long. I can’t tell you how many times Gator fans watched that script play out this season. Opposing defenses basically defended 6-7 yards with 11 players all year as Florida did not threaten anything outside of that much often. It was the mentality you’d expect from a coach who’s out of league as an offensive coordinator. In my opinion, after Mullen left, the OC job should have gone to Billy Gonzalez who’d been with Meyer and Mullen at every stop and helped develop the offense. Addazio was a late arrival to the staff and somehow combined the spread with the 3 yards and a cloud of dust offense to give us the current Frankenstein. While last year’s Gator squad had success, it was obvious to most that the great players on offense were overcoming Addazio’s mentality, not enhanced by it.

Joey

December 3rd, 2010
9:28 am

CharlotteGator, pardon me if we Dawg fans don’t care that UF is getting a new OC.

It’s pretty apparent that is doesn’t matter who’s calling the plays at UF – even Zook and Co beat us.

MURPHY

December 3rd, 2010
9:28 am

Shane,

Agreed-wish Richt would go back to calling the plays at UGA as well. Reed should be your starter for the bowl game in my opinion.

Shane

December 3rd, 2010
9:30 am

@ Joey

“It’s pretty apparent that is doesn’t matter who’s calling the plays at UF – even Zook and Co beat us”

LOL

Shane

December 3rd, 2010
9:33 am

Murphy,

Reed sure seems to be the guy that has the most upside. Good wheels, power, and throwing ability. Wouldn’t surprise me to see him start in the bowl game. Rephrase- He should start in the bowl game.

CharlotteGator

December 3rd, 2010
9:33 am

Joey,

Point taken. Of course, I’d also grant you that this year’s win was another rabbit out of the hat for the Gators along the lines of the Lito Sheppard punt return game and the Terrance Edwards throw down (it wasn’t a drop, he literally caught the ball and inexplicably threw it on the ground).

Most honest Gator fans will acknowledge that this year’s win was the by product of Burton and Thompson making some freak plays and the defense doing just enough (with an assist from a few UGA lapses). The Dawgs seemed uptight in the first half and came out blazing the second. The Gators did just enough in a game that could have gone either way. With Addazio, consider the gap closed. Addazio and Bobo means both teams are playing with one hand tied behind their backs.

MURPHY

December 3rd, 2010
9:35 am

Great blogging with yall this morning.Go to go-High School playoff game today-Got to travel

Go Carolina!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Aubies' Denial

December 3rd, 2010
9:35 am

“I did not have financial relations with that quarterback, Mr. Newton, nor with his father, the good Rev. Newton. Now I’m going back to the barn, and back to work for the Aubarn people.”

Sandman053

December 3rd, 2010
9:37 am

@Aubie’s Denial: I don’t care who you are, that’s funny right there.

Don Domingo

December 3rd, 2010
9:39 am

I was at the Auburn-Florida game in 2000.

Florida beat Auburn with tenacious defense and a good running game. (Grossman was alright too)

collegeballfan

December 3rd, 2010
9:42 am

Well I think the Evil Genius will win out over the Auburn Tigers’ War Eagles. Is that correct – Auburn Tigers’ War Eagles? Or is it two distinct names? Does anyone down there have the ability to make a decision on anything? Auburn said Newton was OK to play then suspended him. Can’t seem to make up their minds on anything.

Must be something in the water.

ATL is TigerTown

December 3rd, 2010
9:44 am

Joey, you poor, pathetic, little fool. Grow the fk up. You whining, crying, silly, hypocrites are making me sick. Get with the program. Be an adult. Accept reality and quit trying to make up crap that makes you feel better. You’re fantasies will not come to fruition. So just stop it and join the living….say War Eagle!

Nurse Rachet

December 3rd, 2010
9:52 am

It’s true that the injury bug finally caught up with the gators this year and most definitely affected their year. It’s also true that Meyer did a terrible job of coaching this year’s team. He may have to go back to work next year. My-my-my! What a year without Tebow will do to ya.

Joey

December 3rd, 2010
9:52 am

Okay, I won’t call you names ATL, but name exactly which part of my remarks was a fantasy? All were quotes or facts.

H-Back

December 3rd, 2010
9:55 am

NCAA’s ruling on Cam was the biggest cop out in their entire, sordid history. Now any parent or “representative” can peddle a blue-chip athlete kid as long as the kid plays dumb and states he or she knew nothing about it. Way to go NCAA, you really got that one right you greedy lot of hypocritical cowards.

Sean

December 3rd, 2010
9:56 am

South Carolina is pulling the upset. And Spurrier knows it. That’s why he’s been pumping up this game as “the biggest stage in college football.” He wants to Auburn to know they have all the pressure. It might not even be close.

http://thebubblescreen.blogspot.com/2010/12/picks-auburn-goes-down-oregon-rolls.html

ATL is TigerTown

December 3rd, 2010
9:57 am

“Joey, you poor, pathetic, little fool. Grow the fk up”

Gee, maybe I should shut up and grow up.

KR

December 3rd, 2010
10:14 am

I find it amusing that prior to the season, many UGA fans were proclaiming (with a certain amount of glee) Spurrier to be washed up and that this would be his last year in coaching because of the frustrations he would encounter in Columbia. Fast forward 14 weeks and suddenly Steve Spurrier is the savior of many the same UGA fans.

I would never take Spurrier lightly. His accomplishments speak for themselves. That being said, I wouldn’t take Auburn lightly either. This year’s team has accomplished some amazing things that many people would have sworn couldn’t be done.

Should be a great game.

WAR EAGLE!

MikeP

December 3rd, 2010
10:18 am

Just Curious

December 3rd, 2010
8:24 am

How many Auburn fans would prefer a clean 9 & 3 record over a tainted 12 & 0?

My guess — not many.

I see that you are reading impaired. The 12-0 is not tainted, and the 14-0 won’t be either.

NERDS!!! 42-34!!!

December 3rd, 2010
10:24 am

NERDS!!! 42-34!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!!

MikeP

December 3rd, 2010
10:27 am

H-Back

December 3rd, 2010
9:55 am

“NCAA’s ruling on Cam was the biggest cop out in their entire, sordid history. Now any parent or “representative” can peddle a blue-chip athlete kid as long as the kid plays dumb and states he or she knew nothing about it. Way to go NCAA, you really got that one right you greedy lot of hypocritical cowards.”

This ruling is exactly the same as the Albert Means case at Alabama, except that in the Means case money actually changed hands. It opens no “can of worms.” Means was not eligible at Alabama but was fine at Memphis. Cam Newton wouldn’t be eligible at Mississippi State, but is fine at Auburn.

If one goes to the trouble to think about it, it’s very clear that this ruling is consistent with prior NCAA rulings.

“If we told you the truth, you wouldn’t print it. The truth doesn’t sell.”~~Auburn linebacker Josh Bynes to a sports journalist on Wednesday.

Worm

December 3rd, 2010
10:35 am

Cam Newton will be hard to handle on a fast surface at the dome..Hopefully Lattimore is just as quick..The ACC game will be cold and possibile rain..

$180K "for playing" Alex

December 3rd, 2010
10:36 am

What no upsets? Tony has no bawls

5IML

December 3rd, 2010
10:38 am

MikeP,

Per SEC rules, Cam is not be eligible at any SEC school. Albert means ended up at Memphis because, according to SEC rules, he was not eligible to play at any school in the SEC. In this case, there’s a lot at stake for the conference so the rules have been bent/ignored.

Just Curious

December 3rd, 2010
10:42 am

@MikeP*

I’ll count you as a “taint” fan.

5IML

December 3rd, 2010
10:42 am

SEC bylaw 14.01.3.2

If at any time before or after matriculation in a member institution a student-athlete or any member of his/her family receives or agrees to receive, directly or indirectly, any aid or assistance beyond or in addition to that permitted by the Bylaws of this Conference (except such aid or assistance as such student-athlete may receive from those persons on whom the student is naturally or legally dependent for support), such student- athlete shall be ineligible for competition in any intercollegiate sport within the Conference for the remainder of his/her college career.

DIT

December 3rd, 2010
10:44 am

This SEC CG should be a great one! I’m not sure yet who I want to see win it. Not because of the so-called Cam Newton thing. I really never bought into as much because no one has brought proof to sideline Cam. Case closed. Auburn deserves to play just as much as Oregon. I like SC because they are the underdog. I look forward to this game

For the 1st time the ACC CG is a good game to watch. This game could save the ACC as for being the worst conference with a CG. I’m guessing that this game will be their 1st sell-out? Both teams travel well.

Just a gut, I think that Nebraska will upset OU. What do i know, I have been wrong before. The only thing I hate about this weekend is that it means, for the most part, that College Saturday is over with until next year.

Hard to comment on Oeregon. That should not be much aof a game.

Auburn 3 SC 2 – kidding, I really don’t have a feel for this game
FSU 21 VT 17
Nebraska 38 OU 23
Oregon by 4 TD’s