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Quick Thoughts on Auburn, Oregon, and the BCS Championship Game

I have a few thoughts to share about the BCS Championship Game. I'm going to keep this short, as the major points have been covered elsewhere. Consider this an open invitation to chat about the game.

  • It was a close game, but the better team won. Oregon is a quality team with some talented players and a great head coach. However, the talent differential in the trenches between the two teams was too much for them to overcome. Championships are won in the trenches, and that's what sets the SEC apart from teams in the Pac-10 other than Carroll-era Southern Cal.
  • On the same note, Nick Fairley was by far the player of the game in my book. He showed why people frequently call him dirty a few times, but you can't deny that he's a beast out there. Oregon had no way of stopping him. When they tried to trick him by drawing him into read-option plays, he simply took everyone down. When they tried to double-team him and read someone else, he burst through the double team. Very impressive.
  • Cam Newton, on the other hand, didn't have his best game. He had a couple of bad throws, one the short-hop in the endzone and the other the one where he overthrew a wide-open Darvin Adams on a play that resembled the one where Adams juked Stephon Gilmore in the SECCG. That latter play really hurt, keeping the Tigers from breaking out a commanding lead. Regardless, he still played well, certainly better than the Oregon stars.
  • Oregon also had some missed opportunities. Most folks will remember the botched trip to the red zone in the third quarter, but the two trips in the first half that only led to three points also hurt. Scoring 14 in that situation would have given the Ducks a lot of momentum. Alas, it wasn't their day.
  • The good news for fans of rival SEC teams is that Auburn won't look anything like this next season. They were an overachiever to start with this year, a team with a great QB and great lines that managed to pull out lots of close games. Next year, most of their talent will be gone. Newton and Fairley will leave early for the draft, while the rest of the lines will graduate. Heroic PK Wes Byrum is also gone. The crappy secondary will be back. Auburn does return their talented RB duo, but I wonder if they'll be as effective with all the other pieces missing. Carolina fans should already be drooling about the chance to pay the Tigers back for the SECCG.
  • Did the ESPN announcers really hope to convince any but the most uninformed football fan that Oregon was going to tire Auburn out? Both teams rely on a fast pace to wear the opposing defense down, with the difference being that Auburn has better athletes. Well, low and behold, it was Auburn that ran all over Oregon on the final drive. Shocking.

That's a wrap on the 2010 football season, folks. Until next fall, it's basketball, baseball, and recruiting here at Garnet and Black Attack.