Auburn and Clemson will begin the 2012 season in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic game in Atlanta on Sept. 1. Clemson is the early favorite, but there are five strengths that will ensure the Tigers easily take down Clemson in Week 1.
Auburn and Clemson have built a number of storylines into this old school college football rivalry in the past few seasons, with last year marking the first Clemson win in the rivalry in almost 60 years.
Clemson used last year’s Auburn win to vault into a tremendous season that finished with an ACC championship for the Tigers. This year’s game will do much of the same for the winner, with both teams looking to this game as a must-win.
Before the game begins, here are five reasons the Auburn Tigers will easily take down Clemson in Week 1.
The Auburn defensive line will be one of the most talented in the country this season. The Tigers will use the ability that is found in the defensive front to create havoc in opposing offensive backfields—it begins in Week 1 against Clemson.
The Tigers will be facing a newly formed offensive line for Clemson—a line that is replacing both tackles heading into the 2012 season.
Auburn will bring a new look to the defense this year that will keep the defensive ends from shifting sides pre-snap, which should create confusion in the first week for the Clemson offense. In the Ted Roof defense, the defensive ends would shift to the strong side or weak side of the play—depending on the position played by the defender.
The line was set up under Roof so that there were defensive ends that specialized as run-stopping or pass-rushing ends. Under Brian VanGorder, the Auburn defensive ends must play both the run and the pass and will not shift positions based upon the offensive formation.
Auburn will have a new look to the defense that seems simple in concept, but will confuse a newly formed offensive line in Week 1. Look for Tajh Boyd to have issues pushing the ball downfield consistently with blue jerseys thumping him in the back all night in the season opener.
The new Auburn defensive scheme will be far more aggressive than in year’s past when the Tigers take the field in Atlanta on Sept. 1. Ted Roof was not known for his fast playing defense in his time at Auburn, as his players appeared to act more reactively than instinctively.
That changes this season with the new Brian VanGorder style of defense. The Tigers will be much more aggressive this season with a lot of activity occurring pre-snap. Auburn has returned to the style of defense that was witnessed on the Plains during the early 2000s.
What aggressive play does for the Tigers defense is create turnovers. Auburn played safe defense for three seasons, and it has caused the Auburn defense to become a secondary concern for opposing teams. Look for that to change this year.
Auburn will cause confusion for the Clemson offense in the first week. Couple the confusion with the pass rush that is expected and turnovers will happen for Auburn.
Clemson is not the only set of Tigers that head into the first week with questions surrounding the offensive line. Auburn will be replacing two members of its offensive line this season.
Auburn will rely on the rushing attack this year to produce the majority of the yardage from the offense early—assuming that the Tigers offensive line will solidify by the first game.
Auburn returns leadership along the line with starters Reese Dismukes and John Sullen returning this fall. Auburn will be able to form a formidable line around its two leaders, creating enough rushing lanes for the talented backfield to find running room in this contest.
Auburn will look to control the clock and play keep away from the dangerous Clemson offense, and it all starts up front for the Tigers.
Auburn will have one of the most dangerous rushing attacks in the country this fall. The Tigers have a host of running backs that are poised for big years in 2012.
The Tigers will look to the running game to be a major portion of the offense early, as the passing attack will be developed throughout the first month of the season.
Clemson will be replacing the majority of its defensive line this year, creating a problem point for the Tigers defense as the Auburn offense takes the field this coming September. Look for Auburn to produce one of the best games of the year on the ground against Clemson.
The Auburn quarterback competition has been a major point of focus during the offseason but Kiehl Frazier still appears to have the lead heading into fall camp Aug. 1. When the Tigers head to Atlanta for the first game, Frazier will be ready to lead Auburn to a big win.
Frazier should have limited passing opportunities in the first game, but that won’t stop him from producing yardage and leading the offense to the end zone.
Look for Frazier to take the Auburn offense further in the first game than any quarterback was able to take the Tigers offense a year ago. Auburn will make leaps offensively under new offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler, and Frazier will be a major part of that success.
Look for Frazier to have one of the best games of the 2012 season against Clemson with the Auburn offense hitting on all cylinders in the first game. Frazier will want to use the first game as a bit of a “told you so” moment for the country, with most picking the Tigers to struggle in the first game—especially offensively.