As much as everyone is looking forward to the Tigers and Ducks, sadness will ensue shortly after for me watching the end as college football will be done for eight months.
When: Monday 8:30 ET
Where: Not Phoenix, but Glendale
Line: Aub -2 (open -2.5)
Heading into Sunday night's Fight Hunger Bowl, I am 24-8 in my bowl picks with a 9-4 record in ACC and SEC games.
Here are the three areas I look at when making my bowl picks.
Who Has The Better Team?
The regular season ending Sagarin ratings have Oregon as the number one team in the nation with the Ducks playing the 19th ranked strength of schedule.
Auburn comes in at number one in the BCS, but number three in the Sagarin facing the 15th toughest schedule. But the Tigers were 6-0 against the top 30.
These two high powered offenses both average north of 40 points per game and 498+ yards of offense and both doing it primarily on the ground.
Oregon is the nation's second most efficient offense averaging one point for every 11 yards gained. Auburn is not far behind at 11.68 yards per point.
Defensively, the Ducks may be a little underrated giving up just one point for every 17.8 yards. Auburn's defense gives up a point for every 14.5 yards.
Despite the statistical advantages for the Ducks one thing they don't have is a once in a generation player like Cam Newton.
Which Coach Will Have Their Team Better Prepared?
Both coaches are in their second year at their schools and in their second bowl game all-time. Chip Kelly lost in last year's Rose Bowl to Ohio State.
Gene Chizik beat Northwestern in the Outback Bowl in his first bowl game.
Not much data to go off here.
Which Team Will Be More Motivated?
No chance for either team to be "disappointed" with their bowl game selection here.
As for Darron Thomas' comments about Auburn's Nick Fairley being "dirty". Usually I don't like when players talk smack before the game because I think it puts the said player on his heels trying to back track. But in this instance it could be Phil Jackson-esque by placing a thought in the refs heads for what to look for during and after plays from Fairley.
A couple of things we know. Oregon has only been truly challenged in one game this season in the 4th Quarter. Even if Auburn falls behind we know they can come from behind. And the team whose defense makes more stops will win this game.
I see this game going much like the BCS Championship Game between USC and Texas (the best game I have ever seen) went with both offenses starting slow, but warming up in the second half.
I am probably the only blogger who follows the SEC to make this prediction, but I was probably the only one that thought Ohio State and the Big 10 would beat Arkansas.
I think Oregon's defense doesn't get the credit it deserves and with their conditioning will make the key stop in the 4th quarter.
Oregon 37 Auburn 34
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