A case in points: BCS title game
BY HERB GOULD firstname.lastname@example.org
Oregon will need all 35 days to prepare for Auburn and Heisman Trophy front-runner Cam Newton in the BCS title game.
Who says defense wins championships- When Auburn and Oregon, two of the nation's most frenetic scoring machines, square off for the national championship, it will be a meeting of two teams that do a great job of making their points.
It ought to be fun. Just don't blink.
After all that talk about Boise State and TCU, no BCS busters reached the national championship game. But some new faces will be playing for the national championship in Glendale, Ariz., on Jan. 10. Auburn and Oregon both will be making their first title-game appearances under the bowl lineup unveiled Sunday.
Both have offenses that could be scoreboard busters. The Ducks average 49 points and 537 yards a game. The Tigers average 43 points and 498 yards.
''The two best offensive spread coaches in the country are going at it,'' said South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier, referring to Oregon coach Chip Kelly and Auburn coordinator Gus Malzahn. ''It will be a heck of a game. Might be 60-55, something like that.''
The other key BCS bowl ought to be a treat, too. Wisconsin will defend the honor of the power-conference schools against TCU in the Rose Bowl. Although the Horned Frogs, who finished No. 3 in the BCS standings, narrowly missed an unprecedented BCS-busting title shot, they will have a ground-breaking opportunity to play in Pasadena.
If TCU were to win, it wouldn't be as monumental as Joe Namath's AFL Jets upsetting the old-school NFL Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. But one way or another, this game will have pot-stirring implications.
The Badgers will carry the banner of power-conference schools while TCU tries to make a statement about the title-worthiness of schools outside the BCS conference.
''We understand we'll be the underdog,'' TCU coach Gary Patterson said. ''But we've played against good teams. We're gonna roll our sleeves up and get after it and do the best we can.''
The Big Ten's second BCS bowl team, at-large entry Ohio State, will take on Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl. The Buckeyes' vaunted defense will try to keep a lid on Ryan Mallett, the Razorbacks' prolific dropback passer.
In the other BCS bowls, Virginia Tech, which has won 10 straight, will try to limit Andrew Luck and Stanford's high-scoring offense in the Orange Bowl. And Oklahoma will take on Connecticut in a Fiesta Bowl that won't excite many fans outside the Sooner State and the Nutmeg State -- unless Oklahoma has difficulty with UConn, from the much-maligned Big East.
With so much ado about Michigan State being shut out of a BCS bowl slot despite being a top-10 team, the Spartans might be on a mission when they take on Alabama in the Capital One Bowl.
Even though the Crimson Tide failed to reach their national championship expectations, playing Alabama will give the Spartans, who were stuck behind Wisconsin and Ohio State in the standings, a great chance to put an exclamation point on their one-loss season.
But the spotlight inevitably will shine brightest on the intriguing championship-game matchup, which features Heisman Trophy front-runner Cam Newton, a speedy lineman-sized runner who can throw, and his eligibility controversy against an Oregon offense that seemingly has supersonic capabilities.
In short, the title game is going to be a defensive coordinator's nightmare, particularly with this year's extra-long layoff.
''Usually, in big games, it's not about the other team,'' Auburn coach Gene Chizik said. ''It's about executing what you do at the highest level.''
Kelly did not seem to disagree.
''We've got 35 days,'' the Ducks coach said. ''And we're going to use them all.''