The 2011 National Champion of College Football will be determined right here in Glendale, Arizona. This will mark the second time that the National Champion under the BCS system’s stand-alone game will be played in Arizona. The last BCS Championship Game was in Phoenix (specifically, Glendale) in 2007.
Auburn and Oregon thrive when they run their plays quickly. The key to dictating tempo is success on first down. Oregon has perhaps the nation’s best running back in sophomore LaMichael James, but Auburn has the nation’s No. 11 rushing defense. This will be a particularly crucial matchup as the Tigers’ defense depends on situational substitutions. Shuttling players in and out will be more difficult if the Ducks are running and gunning at their preferred pace.
Which team will handle the 37 days off best? Because the spread offenses of both teams are dependent on timing, this has the potential to be an error-filled game. Who is best suited to grinding it out? Could the layoff give Oregon an emotional edge? While the Ducks ended the season in relatively quiet fashion, Auburn closed with a bang — back-to-back emotional victories at Alabama and over South Carolina in the SEC title game. The following week, Newton won the Heisman Trophy.
AUBURN » Cam Newton was a program-changer, leading the Tigers (13-0) to a thrilling season of inspired comebacks. In four games, Auburn trailed by double-digit margins. The Tigers are pursuing their ninth undefeated season and first undisputed national title.
OREGON » Coach Chip Kelly was named AP coach of the year as he guided the Ducks (12-0) to an unchallenged run through the Pac-10 in pursuit of the school’s first national title. Oregon’s spread led the nation in points a game (49.3) and total offense (537.5 pg).
Prediction? Auburn 44, Oregon 34