Monday, January 10, 2011

Countdown to "The Natty" - Who Will Win the Game?

Well, here we day for the college football National Championship Game.

If you've been reading along on this blog over the past week or so toyou will have read my thoughts on various aspects of this game via the "Countdown to the Natty" series I've published.

But, really, there's only ever been one question...and it's the only remaining one to addres. That is....

Who will win this game?

I've given this a lot of thought. I've gone back and forth many times. I think it's going to be a close game. I think Auburn has the best player in the country. I think Oregon has weapons galore. Will Cam Newton dominate? Will Oregon wear out the Tigers? There are so many angles and aspects to consider. One thing is for sure to me, whichever team'll know that they are truly the best college football team this season.

But no more delaying. The time has come to man up and make a prediction.

Therefore, I will go on the record and say that I think the winner of this game will be...


Yes I am bias. Yes I am a huge Oregon fan.

But I'm also someone who has seen all the Oregon games, seen several Auburn games and many of their highlights. And, the one time I picked against Oregon this season (vs. Stanford...a big team with a great QB...sound familiar?) I was proven quite wrong by the Ducks.

So I'm going with Oregon.

Barring an injury that takes out either teams' QB, I think the game will go like this:
  • Auburn takes the early lead, maybe even by a couple TDs.
  • Newton looks unstoppable.
  • Oregon's offense scores, but not at the same pace as Auburn.
  • Queue the non-stop praise for Newton and the Tigers by the announcers.
  • But, by halftime lo and behold its only a 7 to 10 point lead for Auburn.
  • The third quarter starts similarly with both teams having a possession and likely scoring.
  • But then by the mid third quarter Oregon's offense really starts to click as Auburn's D gets tired...and the Oregon D starts to slow down Newton. Advantage Oregon with a score.
  • Oregon then gets a special teams score...or it could be a turn over that is cashed in with a score
  • It's even or a one score game going into the fourth quarter.
  • The dynamics in favor of Oregon continue and Oregon takes a 3-7 point lead with 6-9 minutes left
  • Auburn gets the ball with a chance to drive, score and re-take the lead...but cannot.
  • Oregon gets the ball back and grinds out the last 4-5 minutes and wins the game as Newton sits on the bench watching it happen.
I suspect there are small probabilities out there that Auburn and Newton absolutely dominate the Ducks or that Oregon flattens the Tigers from the opening kick...but I really doubt those scenarios will happen. Both teams are too good, too motivated and too well coached.

No, the main reason I think it'll go this way is that its the way all but one Oregon game went this year. And even in that one "off" game (at Cal), the Ducks still shut down the other team's offense.

Meanwhile, I think Auburn has shown that while they can play spectacular at times, they have been challenged in getting and keeping a lead. Obviously, they've had the lead at the end of each game, but several times it was really in doubt. They look more vulnerable than Oregon and Oregon has proved it can take advantage of vulnerabilities.

I am sure that I've now jinxed the Ducks and they'll lose 52-10, but in trying to look at it as objectively as I can before hand, I think Oregon wins. I think they are the slightly better team.

Here's hoping, and...


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