It’s a showdown in the desert as the No.1 Auburn Tigers do battle with the No. 2 Oregon Ducks for college football’s coveted national championship on Monday night in Glendale, Ariz.
This will be the first meeting in history between these two schools. Last year, the Ducks lost in the Rose Bowl to Ohio State and the Tigers defeated Northwestern University in the Outback Bowl.
In a way, the Tigers are looking for redemption considering their undefeated 2004 season where they were unable to compete for the National Championship being ranked No. 3 in the BCS.
The Auburn Tigers have another undefeated team this year with a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Cam Newton, who outweighs every member of Oregon’s starting defense save three players, at 250 pounds.
Oregon’s quarterback Darron Thomas will need to play a great game for the Ducks to win. The Ducks running game is solid and they’re also strong in the air. Thomas averages 5.8 yards a carry and passes for more than 200 yards a game.
The offense in Oregon is a zone-read option where Thomas analyzes the situation and chooses what to do. Thomas can go to the pass or has two backs he can hand the ball to.
His No. 1 back in the option is running back LaMichael James who was a Heisman Trophy candidate. The second choice on the ground is Kenjon Barner, who is more known for his ability to return the football.
If Oregon keeps the ball on the ground, they will have their hands full with Auburn’s defense, which ranks 20th in rush defense and has 33 sacks for the season. Their defensive line is spearheaded by All-American defensive tackle Nick Fairley.
If Oregon is forced to throw the ball, Auburn will have its hands full with Darron Thomas who completes 60 percent of his passes and an offense that can consistently snap the football every 16 to 18 seconds.
Auburn’s secondary is unquestionably the weakest part of their program, ranking 106 out of 111.
Auburn’s defensive coordinator Ted Roof is far from concerned about his secondary telling Fox News, “Right now we’re a Southern Conference Championship defense. We’re working toward being a National Championship defense. There are a lot of things that go into to statistics. The statistic that matters most is wins and loses for our football team.”
Oregon on the other hand has a better-rounded defense that ranks 25th overall in the nation. Not many seem to notice the quality of Oregon’s defense, which is overshadowed by their offense and the likes of LaMichael James.
“We’ve got guys doing drills better than they’ve ever done before and there’s a whole bunch of cameras next to us, but they’re focused to the other end of the field,” Oregon’s defensive tackle Brandon Bair was reported as saying on Foxnews.com.
On both sides of the field you will have outstanding players making outstanding plays throughout the game.
This will be the second National Championship held in Glendale at the home of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals.
In the last championship game held there in 2007, another SEC team, the Florida Gators played Ohio State and won 41–14. The SEC has never lost in a championship game and Auburn doesn’t want to be the team that ends the streak.
Oregon is hoping to win its first national title.