Auburn vs South Carolina: SEC Championship Game Preview

Auburn vs South Carolina SEC Championship

Georgia Dome: Site of the SEC Championship Game

One thing that you learn in any sport is that you can pretty much ignore previous meetings when discussing a rematch. I may hit on the previous game at the end of this article, but for now I want to focus on the two teams, their strengths and weaknesses, and any possible matchups that could define the game, and have a bearing on the outcome.

On offense, you have one team, Auburn, that relies heavily on the run, and another team, South Carolina, that relies more heavily on the passing game. Auburn is averaging right at 300 yards per game on the ground, and South Carolina is averaging around 240 through the air. Neither team is a one-dimensional offense though. Auburn averages around 200 yards through the air, and South Carolina averages around 160 on the ground. Auburn has a not insignificant difference of 100 yards of offense per game. Auburn scores an average of about 42 points per game, while South Carolina averages about 34 points per game. With both teams being balanced offensively, you’d have to get an offensive edge to Auburn.

On defense, South Carolina and Auburn are the top two teams in the SEC against the run, but the SEC’s worst two teams against the pass. There is only a slight difference in scoring defense, with South Carolina giving up an average of 21 points per game, and Auburn giving up 25 points per game. With both teams being equally strong and weak in different phases of the defense, you’d have to give a defensive edge to South Carolina.

In the kick return game, Auburn averages just over 24 yards per return, while South Carolina averages just under 21 yards per return. Auburn has made 15-of-19 field goal attempts, while South Carolina has made 15-of-20. South Carolina averages just under 44 yards per punt, while Auburn is last in the league at just under 38 yards per punt. On special teams, you’d have to call it even.

I see this game as evenly matched, and being on a neutral site, I would expect an exciting game. This is what I look for in this game. South Carolina and Auburn played earlier this year, and I believe South Carolina was basically ceding the run to Auburn, especially when they had a double digit lead on them. Most teams that now face Auburn design defensive schemes to try and prevent Cam Newton from beating them with his legs. I would expect the same from South Carolina.

Defensively, look for Auburn to use the same basic principle that they used before. I see Auburn trying to shut down the South Carolina running game, and forcing them to be more predictable in their play calling. It worked the first time, sort of, but will it work the second time? Who knows? I’m sure the old ball coach has pored over films of the last meeting with Auburn, and will have a few new wrinkles for this game.

Auburn will be playing for their first BCS Championship game appearance, and South Carolina will be fighting for their first SEC Championship. It would be hard to imagine the SEC Championship game could match last week’s Iron Bowl for excitment, but with so much on the line for both teams, it should be a great game.

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COMMENTS

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  • Okay, Auburn. You’ve got two games left. You have to beat SC and Oregon to keep the National Championship in the SEC. Let’s make it five in a row and confirm to the rest of the nation the dominance of real football. Oregon will be cake. SC will not be. Good luck on winning your first sole NC.

    • I think SC will be our toughest challenge over the next two games. LaMichael James puts the quack in the Quack Attack, but Auburn should be able to stop him. They’ve stopped better backs than him this year. When you can give up just over 100 yards rushing in the SEC, with the quality backs that we have throughout the league, Auburn should be able to stop James. If you take James away from them, they become ordinary, and predictable. If Auburn’s front seven is controlling James, and Fairley can pin his ears back and go after Darron Thomas. BUT, Auburn has to beat SC again first!!

      • YES!! AWW_BURN has to beat SC first and trust me they will not….USC has been on top in alot of sports this year…we wont let auburn stop us!! GO GAMECOCKS!!!!!!!!

        • Do you know how many times Auburn has heard that this year? Every team says they are gonna beat us but Newton is not gonna let that happen, trust me. War Damn Eagle!

        • Yeah on top….just like when Arkansas beat you guys right?

      • That’s why I said that Oregon will be easy and SC won’t. Oregon can only hang it’s hat on three games this year:

        1) Stanford — then #9, now #6; Stanford is 1-1 against ranked teams, one being the loss to Oregon, one a win over then #15 Arizona who is now 7-4 and ranked #21
        2) USC — then #24, now unranked; USC is currently 7-5 and is 1-2 against ranked teams, the win against Arizona.
        3) Arizona — currently #21; See notes above, plus Arizona is 1-2 against ranked teams, the win against then #9, now #24 Iowa who is 7-5.

        Minus those three teams, their opponents are a combined 30-61, the only one without a losing season is 6-6 Tennessee (who has only turned around in the last half of the season and was still struggling when they played Oregon). This is not exactly a show of strength.

        Should Oregon fall to Oregon State this weekend (which I doubt) Auburn will face the even easier TCU.

        So: yes, South Carolina will be the last big hurdle.

      • Oregon will not be a piece of cake. Their pace is unlike anything the SEC has seen. After the second series Faerhlie will be gassed with his hands on his knee pads. The Ducks will put a 50 spot on Auburn and they don’t have the firepower to match the Ducks. Oregon’s defense is much better than Auburns.

        • The numbers speak for themselves. Oregon has not faced any truly hard teams. Oregon’s opponents have been a combined 55-72 this season. Auburn’s opponents have been a combined 77-60. I’m no Auburn cheerleader, but the stats are what they are.

        • You must not keep up with much SEC football my friend…ANY TEAM in the SEC could handle them with ease….

  • This figures to be a great game, and I am looking forward to this matchup.

    • SC stands between Auburn and the National Title plain and simple. Auburn, take care of business Saturday and you are there.

      I have a LOT of respect for SC and believe it will be a close game but to the above SC poster Alene, you’re right, it has been a year of firsts, like the first time Arkansas beat you by three scores…… :o) Oh, wait, that isn’t a first. Trust you? Uh huh, it all depends on which Garcia shows up. The outstanding quarterback we know he can be or the one that looks like he has been doing acid and would be better off as the lead singer for the dead. IF the good one shows up and can through with 9000 pounds of Nick Farley all over him, you have a chance my friend.

      JC

  • Auburn has two games left this season, south carolina and prolly orgeon.Auburn vs south carolina in the SEC championship.I think it will be a good game ,but Auburn pulls it out.Why? Because for passing Auburn has Cam Newton.Cam Newton is at the top of the Hiesmen list and will prolly win the hiesmen award plus ESPN said Cam Newton is the best QB in the nation right now.Rushing Auburn has Dyer.Dyer may not be the best ,but he sure is a good RB.Receiving Auburn has Zachery and Adams.Two explosive WR and TE’s.For Defense, Auburn has Nick Fairley.Nick Fairley is certenley one of the best.Thats why i think Auburn will beat south carolina to win the SEC.As for Auburn vs oregon i really dont know. I think that if Auburn’s front seven can stop james i think Auburn can win the BCS national championship,but i really dont know so feel freely to reply back to me and tell me who you think will win both games!

    • This is Auburn’s year, plain and simple. South Carolina will be a tough game but we’ve beaten them once and we’ll do it again. Cam Newton is gonna show what he can do on an NFL field since that’s where he’ll be next year. Oregon will score points but not as much as Auburn. Auburn will shut down James and I’d be willing to bet that they hold him to less than 100 yds. If you don’t believe that look at previous games like SC’s Lattimore or AL’s Ingram/Richardson (less than 100 yds. combined). Auburn stops the run and Oregon does not have the passing game to make up for it. Auburn on the other hand puts up impressive run stats almost every game but can make up for a shut down in the run with Cam’s cannon and great receivers like Adams, Zachary, and Blake, and let’s not forget Lutzenkurchen at TE. Anyway, hey gamecocks and ducks, BRING IT!!!! War Damn Eagle!!!

      • IT IS NOT AS SIMPLE AS THAT… South Carolina will be the only team to have a secound like on the Auburn Tigers. Not only that, but the only other team to have a secound shot at stopping Cameron Newton. As for him in the NFL, well, you cannot be so sure about that. He has three years left in his college careerI( if he chooses to play and make up for his redshirt freshmen season). No one knows what he will decide.

        • I wish he did have three years left. He was at Florida for a year, and Florida didn’t redshirt him. He played one year at Blinn Community College, and he has played for Auburn this year. If he decides to come back to Auburn, he’ll have only one year of eligibility remaining.

  • Spurrier is a great coach a legend and USC has some really talented players but with all due respect they can not match up to Auburn THIS year. ANY other year and this game is a toss up, but this year I really feel like Auburn will prevail. It won’t be a cakewalk, it will be a bruising game (I hope no one gets hurt beyond bruises) but the final score will find Auburn in the Win column.
    USC is on the cusp of being a solid contender in the SEC I think they have worked very hard for the progress they have made and never again will any team go into Columbia worry free. Gamecocks are tough birds and the mascot fits USC because of the scrappy nature of the team the school and the fans. I am proud to have USC in the SEC!

    War Eagle!!!!!, let the SEC Championship game show the nation just what SEC football is all about!!

    • I seriously look for South Carolina to be back in Atlanta in 2011. They’ll be a more seasoned team in 2011, will drop Alabama from the schedule for Mississippi State, and will have Auburn and Florida at home, instead of on the road.

  • Another thriller. SC certainly has the mojo to win this game. Look for a late round knockout by either team.

  • You can never take these games for granted. Odds favor Auburn by 4 and a half tonight. Expect a great battle but AU rules the 4th quarter. I think the Tigers will be stoked after Fridays comeback against their arch rival Alabama. Could be a blowout with AU winning big. Beyond that don’t expect those low flying game birds to be any match for the War Eagle.

  • You Auburn fans have got to be kidding me!!! Newton is a beast, no doubt! But all of this, SC can’t do it, AU beat SC the last time, blah blah….does AU have the W?? Absolutely!! Did Newton & Fairley beat SC? No way! SC beat SC with 4 turn overs in the 4th!! And while Garcia’s unpredictability has cost the team at times, it is the same drive that cost him 2 fumbles that often gets him them those extra few yards to keep a drive alive. Unfortunately, the rest hinged on a horrible coaching decision (now claimed for Garcia’s safety because of his head tucking) but the 2 interceptions came from a true freshman QB after he marched down the field in Jordan Hare with EASE. Come come now….even Kentucky took AU to the last seconds of the game needing a field goal to win it. Has Auburn had a magical season? without a doubt! But so has SC and a neutral field should make for a very interesting game. I assure you that Chizik is not overlooking the Gamecocks like you are. Now, I like Auburn fans, as a general rule, consider it one of the top SEC stadiums to visit. But be careful, Newton won’t hang around long & you guys, as a general rule, have gotten full of yourselves on one player awful quickly!! Thus far, it has been the triple crown year of beating #1′s in SC sports & I think it is even more delightful that AU now gives the football team a chance to do it twice. In the words of the ol ball coach, “God is smiling on the Gamecocks” Go COCKS!!!

    • SC is definitely going to be tough for Auburn. Personally, I believe the game will hinge on which Garcia shows up. You have to give Auburn the edge in the game, but it will most likely be close with the final decision made in the last five to ten minutes.

  • Auburn has gotten to where they are today because they are a great team! Not taking anything away from Cam Newton, but a win takes a team effort! Already beat SC once, proved they could, soon to prove they will do it again. And without Cam, Auburn would not be undefeated? How do you know that? Did you look into a crystal ball or something? You can make all the assumptions you want but this TEAM got to the Championship game by kickin ass and taking names!!!! And although some of the wins were a close call, a win in still a win! The SEC Championship will be sweet, but the National Title will be even sweeter! WAR EAGLE!!!!!!

  • IF AUBURN LOOSES TO SC ARE THEY NOT AHEAD ENUFF TO STILL MAKE THE BIG DANCE

  • EVERYONE IS SAYING S.C. IS BETTER…IS AUBURN NOT BETTER TOO..SAME OUT COME AUBURN WINS. CASE CLOSED

  • USC by 10 if Lattimore stays healthy for this game. The SEC is the BEST football conference in the country, and to go undefeated in the SEC is a rare feet. not to mention beating a ranked team twice in one year. Look for USC to take the lead into the fourth quarter and utilize Lattimore via run and scream plays successfully keeping Cam off the field. It will be an awesome game!!!

  • If Auburn comes into the game with the same defense plan they had in the second half against Alabama, then this should be a one sided affair. Auburn is at it’s best right now after defeating hated rival Alabama, and coming off playing probably their best defense this year in the second half, allowing only about 60 yards of offense against the Tide. Auburn has created havoc on teams that tried to smash it up the middle, Lattimore, Ingram, Richardson, all held to around 30 yards. I’m also seeing that the D-backs are playing more aggressively and really knocking heads around; The swagger seams to be working it’s way towards the Secondary. SC’s chances live or die by how often they can get it to Alshon Jeffrey deep. Auburn will run the same coverage scheme they used to cover Julio Jones last week and contain him, forcing Garcia to find another option, which he might not have enough time to with Fairley in his face. This game should be close at halftime, I’ll say 21-14 Auburn, and for a while in the 3rd, but Auburn will play one of it’s most complete game of the season and run away with it at the end. Final – Auburn 38 South Carolina 24

  • I will say it again, IT IS NOT GOING TO BE SIMPLE FOR AUBURN TO WIN THIS GAME!. Of course we would all like it to be simple, but South Carolina is the only team that has a secound look on the Tigers and have seen what Newton can do for two straight weeks. (Against themselves, against Alabama). These guys have probably been watching film all week, and as calm as Newton is when he plays and trails other teams… this time he may not be able to do so as easily as he has been able to in previous games… again this is just what i think. But hopefully it can be a good matchup and Auburn takes the win.