If I had been lucky enough and wealthy enough
to be at tonight's national championship game in Arizona between Auburn
, I would have spent some time before the game with friends outside the stadium in what's known as the "Jägermeister circle."
This circle welcomes all Ducks football obsessives such as myself
, the idea being that everybody predicts the final score after taking a swig of the bottle that's passed around. If I were there, here's what I would say ...
With full knowledge that my prediction is hardly unbiased and that everything has been written about this game that could be written, here's what I think will happen:
1) On offense, Oregon will start out with short passes—bubble screens (see video below) and slants—both to get quarterback Darron Thomas in rhythm and in recognition of the fact that he won't have enough time early in the game to throw downfield given Auburn's pass rush. Also, expect Thomas to keep the ball more often on his run reads, because he must keep the defense from keying on LaMichael James. I also think Kenjon Barner, who had a great Rose Bowl last year, will have a major role in this game—perhaps even in a two-back set with James.
2) On defense, Cam Newton is of course frightening with his size at quarterback. He will have a huge game and make some big plays for Auburn. But I do think this Ducks defense has proven itself opportunistic enough to create at least a couple turnovers like this:
3) And on special teams, Cliff Harris on punt returns and Josh Huff on kickoff returns are good for at least one big play apiece that will be the difference in a shootout. Something like this: