As much as ESPN would like you to believe, Cam Newton is not the only Auburn threat for Oregon. Tigers defensive coordinator Ted Roof is someone not getting enough attention.
The key to Roof's genius this year lies within his mid-game adjustments. Several times this year Auburn's opponents found themselves up by double digits only to have Roof's defense adjust accordingly to allow for a comeback.
The Clemson and Alabama games stick out the most with Roof making effective changes after being down 17-0 and 24-0 respectively. Expect the defense against Oregon to gradually get better as the game goes on.
Football meets Soccer = Less Push-ups for Duck
A couple Auburn players (perhaps mistakenly) suggested they would be taking on a similar approach to what Cal did against Oregon.
"I can't tell you the game plan, but we've got probably a little similar (scheme) to what Cal did," said safety Zac Etheridge to the Portland Tribune.
Cal held the top-ranked offense to just 15 points (six of those were from a punt return TD) and they did so by slowing down the pace of the game. The Bears did everything in the book, including taking a page out of the Italian soccer team by faking injuries. Not saying that Auburn will be as dirty, but let's just say they'll manage to keep Duck momentum to a minimum.
The SEC hasn't - in six tries - lost a BCS title when it has sent one of its teams to the big game. The conference has also covered the number in each of those games too.
The Pac-10 doesn't boast the same type of success. USC is the only Pac-10 team to make it to a BCS title game and the Trojans went 1-1 straight up and against the spread.
TAKE THE DUCKS
Look up "offensive proficiency" and there'll be a team picture of the Ducks in Webster's Dictionary. Well not really but I think you get my point.
Oregon's the top scoring team in the FBS, scoring almost 50 points per game. The Ducks are No. 1 in total offense averaging over 537 yards per game. And while the Ducks are considered a strong passing team, they can also run the football, averaging almost 304 yards per game, good enough for fourth best in the nation.
Their quick sets wear defenses down. The Ducks outscored opponents 277-77 in the second half of games this season. Team speed takes full advantage of those tired legs in the final 30 minutes of games.
Fast. That's the best way to describe Oregon's defense. The stopper unit flies to the ball faster than any defense I've seen in college football this season, so it's no surprise the group has forced 35 turnovers in just 12 games.
Defensive End Kenny Rowe is exactly the type of DE a team needs to harass Cam Newton's zone reads. Rowe has the athleticism to attack Newton rather than react, getting to the Heisman winner while he still possesses the football.
Too Many Close Calls
The Tigers either trailed or were tied in the third or fourth quarter in eight contests as well.
Auburn escaped with a last second field goal against Kentucky, and trailed by at least 13 points in four other games. While some will argue those narrow victories were character builders, I'd say it shows just how far from dominant the Tigers were in 2010.
The line opened at -3 Auburn and has moved down to -1.5, Money is pouring in on the Ducks ! O/U opened at 74 and has moved down to 72.5.