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SEC Championship Preview: Auburn – South Carolina

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Prior to the season you could’ve made good money in Vegas had you predicted a South Carolina – Auburn SEC Championship game. While it may have seemed far fetched at the time, these two will square off on Saturday with a BCS berth on the line.

This game will be a rematch of a late September battle between these two. In the first meeting, South Carolina was higher ranked and held a lead in the 4th quarter. Ultimately the Gamecocks fumbled away two opportunities and couldn’t withstand an onslaught from the electric Cam Newton and fell 35-27. This time there is much more on the line for both teams. South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier is enjoying his best season at the helm of the Gamecocks and is attempting to make his first BCS bowl appearance since his days in the swamp at Florida. Auburn on the other hand is one win away from a shot at the National Title. They have to be relieved to have a chance to settle it on the field after their 2004 squad went 13-0, but was left out of the National Championship discussion by the BCS computers.

South Carolina has a lot of work to do on offense if they want to hang around in this one. Obviously QB Stephen Garcia will need to do a much better job with ball security. Turning the ball over against an Auburn offense that can seemingly score at will, could lead to a hurdle even a Spurrier offense can’t overcome. Super Freshman RB Marcus Lattimore should get the ball early and often. He shouldn’t have much of a problem finding running lanes, which will loosen up the shaky Auburn pass defense and help bleed the clock and keep Cam Newton off the field. In the first meeting South Carolina WR Alshon Jeffrey was unstoppable. He shredded whatever defense the Tigers threw at him. It will be interesting to see how Auburn defends him, Paying too much attention to him will leave even bigger holes that the talented Lattimore will surely exploit.

Auburn has a major advantage with their offensive line against the Gamecock defensive front. I would look for them to establish the run with their three headed rushing attack of QB Cam Newton and RBs Michael Dyer and Onterio McCalebb. They actually did a decent job of keeping Newton honest, but sacrificed their secondary in the process. It’s really pick your poison with Auburn’s potent offense, so South Carolina might as well play aggressive and try to force Newton’s hand. It might not work, but they really don’t have a lot of other options. The Heisman frontrunner has proven his ability to get wherever he wants, whenever he wants to do it against passive defenses.

Spurrier wants nothing more than to ruin Auburn’s perfect season. I just don’t think that they have the firepower on offense or the defensive playmakers to do so. I picked against Auburn and Cam Newton three times this season, and have been burned each time. On that Georgia Dome turf his advantage should be even greater and with Auburn’s advantage on both sides of the trenches I like Auburn to punch their ticket to Glendale

Auburn 38 – South Carolina 27


One Response to “SEC Championship Preview: Auburn – South Carolina”

  1. Consider that ticket PUNCHED!

    Posted by Bobby Digital | December 8, 2010, 1:27 pm

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