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4 Downs – Auburn Crowned National Champions

Auburn defeated Oregon last night in a 22-19 affair that came down to a last second FG that determined all the Tostitos. Man you gotta love Brent Musburger! In light of that here are 4 downs on what I thought about the game.

1st Down: SEC Continues BCS Dominance

This is the 5th straight time the SEC has produced the national championship team. We’ve had Florida, LSU, Florida, Alabama and now Auburn. A big storyline coming into 2011 will be whether or not the SEC can win it’s 6th straight national championship. When you look across the SEC landscape you find a lot of teams capable of turning in a great season. LSU has quite a bit returning. Same goes for Arkansas even though they will lose Ryan Mallett. Mississippi St. should be really good. South Carolina practically returns the whole team. Same goes for Florida who might be in line to win another championship had Urban Meyer stayed put. If Cameron Newton returns to Auburn, the Tigers could be the odds on favorite to win back-to-back titles. Alabama could lose quite a bit, but as long as Nick Saban is head coach, they’ll be contenders. I’m not sure we might not want to crown the SEC Championship game winner the default national champions.

2nd Down: SEC Defensive Lines are Ridiculous

The play of Auburn’s defensive line was the key for me last night. They absolutely manhandled Oregon’s offensive line all night long. You could argue Auburn’s offensive line did the same, and it was obvious how much bigger, stonger, and faster the Auburn lines were as compared to Oregon’s. What’s more amazing is that Oregon tied Auburn late in the 4th quarter at 19-19 after watching the game. If you just looked at play after play with no field and no score, you would have thought Auburn won by about 3TD. Instead, Oregon hung around. Nick Fairley was a man among boys and don’t forget about the play last night of Antonie Carter who had an exceptional game as well. Mike Goggans had a good game too.

3rd Down: I Don’t Get why Oregon Didn’t Pass All Night

If there was one weakness to Auburn’s defense, it would be their secondary. I’d have to go back and watch the game again, and maybe the Ducks didn’t pass a ton because the Auburn D-Line was creating so much havoc, but to me there was no way Oregon was running the ball on Auburn unless it was somehow set up by the passing game. Darron Thomas didn’t look comfortable from the outset and I know he threw an early interception, but the Auburn D-Line simply wasn’t going to get run on. Oregon also ran a ton of 3-back sets on offense for almost the entire first half that simply wasn’t working. Their option plays weren’t working (thanks to the speed of SEC defenders) so I’m not quite sure why Chip Kelly didn’t run a bunch of play action plays or go to 5 receiver sets to get the defense back on its heels. Nothing about the offensive game plan made a lot of sense to me, and if you go back and watch, a whole lot of what worked for the Ducks came off of passing plays.

4th Down: Defenses Played Extremely Well

Give a lot of credit to the defenses here. Auburn & Oregon were offensive dynamos all season long averaging close to 50ppg. Oregon was held to under 20. Auburn only scored 22. There were too points were the defenses didn’t look great. In the first quarter it did seem as if Auburn’s defense was a bit tired. Oregon had the ball for quite a bit of time and War Eagle looked winded. Auburn’s offense took over in the 2nd quarter and the Tiger defense never looked tired again. Oregon’s defense was worn down by the 4th quarter which is when Auburn RB Michael Dyer went off. After watching Dyer’s effectiveness last night, you wonder why in the world he didn’t get a snap in the 1st quarter, but Dyer made the most of his efforts and don’t be surprised to hear his name as a Heisman dark horse next year. Oregon needed turnovers to keep this one close and they got them. They also needed to make Cameron Newton feel a bit uncomfortable which is what happened too. The only part that worries me is that Oregon was THIS CLOSE to getting blown out. Go back and watch the tape and tell me how many passes that Newton just missed on. Some of that I suppose can be credited to the Oregon defense, and it should be, but a lot of pundits will talk about how close this game was except the score is a bit misleading.

Overtime: Can Auburn Keep the Title?

This of course will be the big question. With all the allegations swirling around Cameron Newton, will War Eagle be able to keep the title in the coming years? Right now the answer is yes as Newton’s father is one the one that was in violation of NCAA rules and now Newton himself, but who knows what the future may hold. Right now the Auburn Tigers are BCS Champions, but that doesn’t mean it’ll always stay that way. Go ask Reggie Bush & USC. For college football’s sake I hope the matter is completely over, but given the asinine qualities of the NCAA, I’d expect we’ll be hearing rumors about Auburn for a little while longer.

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January 11, 2011 - Posted by | Auburn, BCS, Oregon

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