Five reasons Auburn will beat Oregon for the BCS Championship

Scottsdale, Ariz.–We’ve been analyzing this game for 37 days and it all comes down to this: Tonight, No. 1 Auburn (13-0) can win its first BCS  national championship since 1957 and the fifth straight for the SEC by beating No. 2 Oregon here in the desert.  There are a lot of Auburn people out here without tickets because, if it happens, they want to say for the rest of their lives that they were here.

Can Auburn do it? Or does Oregon win the first national championship in its football history?

Five reasons why I’m picking Auburn:

1. Cameron Newton: A lot the best defensive minds in college football (Nick Saban, John Chavis, Ellis Johnson) have tried to come up with a plan to contain the Auburn quarterback and nobody has been able to do it. Newton led the SEC in rushing and when defenses have stacked the box and forced Newton to throw he has done a remarkable job in the second half of the season. In Newton’s last five games he has completed 69.4 percent of his passes for 1,225 yards, 15 touchdowns and just one interception. Newton now has a chance to become only the 14th player in history to win a Heisman Trophy and then go on to win the national championship.

There is no question that Oregon will gear its fast, physical defense to slow down the running game and hope that Newton throws interceptions.

2. Nick Fairley: When California nearly beat Oregon back in November, the Bears kept it close by using strong pressure up the middle to disrupt the well-timed and agressive offense of the Ducks. Nobody puts pressure up the middle like Auburn’s Nick Fairley. Auburn has been very good about making the opposing quarterback uncomfortable, especially in the second half of games. So look for them to use Fairley to really turn the heat up on Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas. I will throw in this caveat: After the close call against Cal, Oregon started counter punching the pressure up the middle with quick hitting plays on the perimeter. But if  Auburn doesn’t effectively pressure Thomas, that could spell trouble for the Tigers.

3. Toughness: Don’t get me wrong, Oregon is a physical team, albeit smaller than Auburn. They play fast and they play hard. But Auburn has been a mentally tough, resilient team all season. The Tigers have trailed in eight of their 13 victories and four times they rallied from double-digit deficits (including a 24-0 deficit at Alabama) to win. But Auburn has played on the big stage all season and is not in awe of its surroundings. If the game is close in the fourth quarter, you have to like Auburn.

4. The Auburn offensive line: Nobody is talking about these guys but they are probably the key to the game. With the Oregon defense focused on Newton, there are going to be opportunities to run the football with freshman RB Michael Dyer (73.1 ypg) and speedster Onterrio McCalebb. Auburn led the SEC in rushing with 287.2 yards per game. That’s because of an offensive line that starts four seniors and a junior. The four seniors have combined for 161 career starts. If Auburn can run the ball and control the clock, that limits the number of possessions and places for Oregon’s high-power offense. The key to all of that is the offensive line.

5. Wes Byrum: As a true freshman in 2007, Byrum went to Florida a kicked a field goal on the last play of the game to beat No. 4 Florida 20-17 in The Swamp. Since then Byrum has been one of the best clutch kickers in football. He had a bit of a sophomore slump in 2008, hitting just 11 of 19 field goals. But since then Byrum has connected on 30 of 36 attempts. If the game comes down to a late field goal, this kid has the right stuff to make it.

Final Analysis: The SEC has won four straight national championships but the league has never played a Pac-10 team in a title game. Because of its speed and tempo Oregon presents challenges  unlike  any team that Auburn, or anybody else in college football, has ever seen. Defensive stops in this game will be like gold. After a 37-day layoff, both teams will come out with a lot of energy–too much energy, in fact. The team that settles down earliest and starts playing their normal game will have a distinct advantage. I think that team will be Auburn. This could be a repeat of the Texas-USC game where somebody gets a defensive stop and scores on the last possession to win. In a close game I give the edge to Auburn.

Final score: Auburn 35, Oregon 31.

Please follow me on Twitter:

www.twitter.com/MrCFB

Barnhart and Durham: Wes will be in the studio in Atlanta and I will be out in Arizona as we break down the big game. Please join us starting at 10 a.m. www.790thezone.com

424 comments Add your comment

Erked Russell

January 10th, 2011
7:51 am

I hate to say it but AU all the way

Erked Russell

January 10th, 2011
7:54 am

Slow day today

rusty

January 10th, 2011
7:55 am

Auburn fan here. I cannot believe that we are in this game–I sure hope that your analysis is accurate. Can’t wait for the game and so far still have power and cable!

Kiss of death

January 10th, 2011
7:56 am

Awesome. Barnyard just actually picked the Ducks instead of the Boogs. Barnyard picked Georgia and Georgia Tech all season and looked what they got a .500 record.

edumacated

January 10th, 2011
8:00 am

Tony, my kid sister knows more about football than you do. Tell us something we don’t already know.

Scam hater

January 10th, 2011
8:02 am

Wife and Mother in law were cheerleaders at Auburn …I’m a Dawg.
I now fully understand “a house divided”. These people are crazy and I’m so glad they are all out in Glendale so my 8 year old son who is also a diehard Dawg fan and I can live in peace!!
Hope the cheaters get their butts kicked!! I’ll never make endless months of “war eagle”…gag!!

oregon duck

January 10th, 2011
8:02 am

That’s it. Game over. We’re going to get hunted down and killed by the tigers. Auburn 54 Oregon 36.

WAR EAGLE!!!!!

SC Boy

January 10th, 2011
8:03 am

I am SEC all the way but not Auburn. I can’t ever pull for a team who’s Dad shopped him and then the kid said he didn’t know. So the money was not right at MSU. Must have been right at AU.

Riiiiiight, Cam.

hey scam hater

January 10th, 2011
8:05 am

I heard that you were a child molester and liked little boys. Must be true. You should be castrated and sent to prison. Loser.

Oh wait…. You didn’t know anything about that? No one has been able to proove any of that?

Doesn’t matter, I’ve formed my opionion. You should die.

Shug

January 10th, 2011
8:07 am

Eventually, we should hope, justice has to prevail in college football. For the sake of all that is right, Oregon must win.

Common Sense

January 10th, 2011
8:09 am

TCU should play the winner.

ATL is TigerTown

January 10th, 2011
8:10 am

I don’t care how they do it as long as they do it. War Eagle!

Mike

January 10th, 2011
8:11 am

Quack Attack! The Ducks shake, waddle and roll…quack, quack!

AU Man

January 10th, 2011
8:11 am

Auburn has the stuff to win this one. War Eagle! Kick ‘em in the butt Big Blue!

travy

January 10th, 2011
8:13 am

37 days off is a bad joke on us all. boycott if you love college football

War damn eagle

January 10th, 2011
8:13 am

This is going to be a great game. The anticipation is killing me and I’m counting down the hours until the game starts. Both teams are very talented and it is sure to be a great matchup. I do think that Auburn will win though just simply because they played a much tougher schedule and a re battle tested.

For those of you that are holier than thou and keep calling Auburn and Cam cheaters, give it a break. It’s just another excuse that you can use to talk smack and badmouth a team you don’t like.

I can guarantee if it was the same situation but only with the team that you follow and they were in the Nat’l Championship game you’d be singing a different tune. You’re all a bunch of hippocrits and you know it so STFU.

AuTigerAtl

January 10th, 2011
8:14 am

Just say no to Quack! War Eagle!

KidRay

January 10th, 2011
8:16 am

38-28 Auburn.

AU77

January 10th, 2011
8:18 am

oh well.. here we go… to all other fans not Auburn. Get over it..We are playing for it all. Good luck Tigers..

Doogsga

January 10th, 2011
8:19 am

I’m pulling for the SEC. But I feel the need to take a shower every time I say it.

By the way Cecil Newton’s church collected another 200K in the offering plate yesterday. Praise the lord… and Auburn boosters.

atltiger15

January 10th, 2011
8:21 am

WAR EAGLE BABY, playing in the BCS champ game, Heisman winner, recruiting jumping into top 10 with several big time prospects to announce on signing day, boy its great to be an AU Tiger. Hopefully the tigers pull it out and GA willbe represented wellby AU whose roster is loaded with GA boys

ratherBgambling

January 10th, 2011
8:23 am

AU 44
OU 31

Cha-Ching

atltiger15

January 10th, 2011
8:23 am

Doogs

Maybe you sure fire Richt and clean house, its not a bad deal if you do it right

slippery slope

January 10th, 2011
8:23 am

Auburn has won a lot of really CLOSE games and it’s defense is ranked 54th in points allowed.

In Decatur

January 10th, 2011
8:26 am

How about a day when we don’t write that someone else “needs to die” because of their opinions? Just enjoy the snow and game tonight.

duck attack!

January 10th, 2011
8:30 am

Will be hoping those ducks are rested and ready to romp! Auburn, Heisman, blah blah blah!

hi there

January 10th, 2011
8:30 am

I’ve watched a couple of Oregon’s games on ESPN3 and there is nothing impressive about their offense EXCEPT tempo. For many games they do nothing until the other team gets tired in the 2nd half…it’s like they can’t score consistently unless the other team is tired.

Good for them, they’ve managed to get 11 of the 12 team they played tired and the one team they didn’t was a very bad Cal team who they beat by like 2 pts.

This game should go a lot like their last bowl game against OSU. People who haven’t seen them play are going to be left wondering how the heck they scored so many points all season.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tony Barnhart and others. Tony Barnhart said: Five reasons why Auburn will beat Oregon for the BCS national championship. http://tinyurl.com/27×95au [...]

Don

January 10th, 2011
8:33 am

tune in for more obvious tomorrow

Bull Gator

January 10th, 2011
8:33 am

Byrum broke our hearts in 2007, but I can speak for the entire Gator Nation when I say War Damn Eagle! Go Auburn, Go SEC!!!

S GA AUFAN

January 10th, 2011
8:34 am

Field goals will be irrelevant in this game.

THANK YOU to all our SEC brethren for all the WAR EAGLE’s it is great to have your support.

To the hatin humpers (haters only). I tried to pull for you against UCF, but it is hard to cheer when you are laughing that hard!

To the quackers, resistence is futile!

WAR EAGLE!

Pat Dye's Bourbon Maker

January 10th, 2011
8:34 am

Cecil and Cam has exposed our PFP over the last 24 years. We will have to give the title back but that’s okay we still have 1957to reflect on even if cheated then.

War eeegle

AUsome

January 10th, 2011
8:36 am

Enough talk.

Let’s play.

Gator Mike

January 10th, 2011
8:39 am

I am an SEC fan, and I want AU to win even though I sense there is something awry in the Cam Newton situation. Additionally, I do not under estimate Oregon. It has the potential to be a very good game, and if Oregon finds a way to slow down Cam, they will win. However, to date, nobody has devised a formula to slow Cam.

Herschel Talker

January 10th, 2011
8:39 am

Five reasons Tony Barnhart is a clown:

1. He supports Mark Richt
2. He supports Mark Richt
3. He supports Mark Richt
4. He supports Mark Richt
5. He supports Mark Richt

UGAFan

January 10th, 2011
8:40 am

Actually, Tony, Cal kept the game close by faking injuries all game long, to slow down Oregon’s hurry-up offense.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEr6tHeuKnA

Cam

January 10th, 2011
8:40 am

I think I’m due a bonus.

Gator

January 10th, 2011
8:41 am

So let me make sure I understand dog fans, it is only OK for your players (Herschel) to take the money and run?

merculf

January 10th, 2011
8:43 am

I can’t tell if you non-Auburn people are trying to be humorous or just idiots…..They found no $ trail to link Auburn with the Newtons or his church.

sec rules

January 10th, 2011
8:43 am

Jake

January 10th, 2011
8:44 am

From a Vol,,, Go War Eagle!,, Bring it Home,,,

JB at home

January 10th, 2011
8:44 am

Auburn is lucky the FBI has their hands full in Arizona…..

Hike !!

January 10th, 2011
8:46 am

The game should have been played on New Years Day . ESPN has ruined the bowl games by spreading them out to jan 10. 35 games….119 teams in 1A = 70 teams…70 divided by 119 = 58.8% of all 1A teams now play in a bowl game. No wonder the Dawgs were flat…the game should not have been played.
At least this game is legit. I can’t believe Oregon beats Auburn…but if you watched them play Ala. The Tide should have won that game…period….but Bama would also beat Oregon…whatever….

Big Macon Dawg

January 10th, 2011
8:50 am

NOPE.

Auburn gets beat, and misses out on what will be their last chance to win a NC.

Followed by a NCAA investigation and death penalty to the biggest bunch of cheaters since SMU.

No more football at ALL BARN.

Jordan Hare will make a fine women’s softball facility.

DawginLex

January 10th, 2011
8:52 am

HT,

You really need to just shutup. Do you really want Richt fired NOW? At the height of recruiting season?

Just shutup and give it a rest. WE ALL KNOW YOU WANT RICHT FIRED.

He is getting another year to turn things around. If he doesn’t, you will get your wish.

RxDawg

January 10th, 2011
8:53 am

I hope Oregon wins… but I know Auburn will. It’s proabably over by the 3rd quater. Which is good since we all have to go to bed on the east coast.

r.e.

January 10th, 2011
8:53 am

You Ugay fans get me. Your so quick to call people cheaters when they are winning with all of your mean spirited comments. I used to be an sec fan and pull for the other sec teams when they were not playing auburn. NOT any more!! I’m AU all the way and I hope the rest of you trash talking creeps never win another game. Take care of your own convicts and trash in your back yard before worrying about everybody else.

r.e.

January 10th, 2011
8:53 am

Enter your comments here

Dr. Phil

January 10th, 2011
8:54 am

The Little Sisters of the Poor just can’t get over the beat down by Newton and Fairley.

DawginLex

January 10th, 2011
8:54 am

I actually looked forward to the title games when LSU or Florida or Bama played because of the way they went about things and handled their business.

I won’t even watch this one. Big waste of my time.

No integrity.
No class.
No honor.
No honesty.
No accountability.

All of these describe Auburn football.