Monday, December 31, 2007

A Look at the Chick-Fil-A Bowl

Auburn (8-4, 5-3)
Clemson University (9-3)
Atlanta, GA
Today’s Line: Clemson -2.5

AU Tiger Rankings: (Conference, Nationally)
Total Offense: 327.8 (10th, 101st)
Offensive PPG: 24.3 (9th, 82nd)
Total Defense: 298.3 (2nd, 8th)
Defensive PPG: 16.7 (1st, 6th)

CU Tiger Rankings: (Conference, Nationally)
Total Offense: 412.4 (2nd, 47th)
Offensive PPG: 34.2 (1st, 23rd)
Total Defense: 297.2 (2nd, 6th)
Defensive PPG: 18.3 (2nd, 10th)

Forget what ESPN tried to tell you about the Holiday Bowl being the best pre-New Year's Day bowl. This is it. Two fast, hard-hitting defenses will dominate this game between a pair of Tiger teams that were headed in opposite directions at the beginning of the season.

This isn't Tuberville's best Auburn team. Far from it. But, after dropping 2 of their first 3 games, Auburn is 7-2, with losses to LSU and UGA, both representing the SEC in BCS bowl games. The defense has been consistent all season, as evidenced by a Top 10 national ranking in both Total D and Defensive PPG. The offense - to put it nicely - hasn't. So Tuberville fired OC Al Borges and brought in Tony Franklin, who has instituted a no-huddle spread attack since bowl practice began.

It will interesting to see how Auburn responds to the new offense. Senior QB Cox is not known for his mobility, so FR QB Kodi Burns - a much better - athlete may see the field much more than usual in this game. One thing's for certain, the Auburn D will come ready to play.

This should be one of the most entertaining matchups of the year - before or after New Year's. While Clemson has gaudier stats, they are 0-2 against ranked teams this year, outscored 61-40 against BC and VTU. Auburn comes in ranked #22 and will have something to prove, particularly offensively. Look for AU's version of the Tigers to pull out a tough, close win.

Dead Guy sees:
Auburn 17
Clemson 13

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