Over the two previous seasons, few rivalries have had as much drama as the Auburn-Clemson series.
In 2010, Clemson had a 17-0 lead against Auburn until future Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton led the Tigers to an improbable 27-24 overtime victory. Not to be outdone, last season, Auburn jumped out to a 21-7 lead until Clemson roared back to stun Auburn in a 38-24 win.
It is now 2012 and both teams are trying to start the season off with a bang.
One of the key areas to focus is the quarterback situation. Quarterback Tajh Boyd will look to add to his sensational 2011 season where he passed for over 3,800 yards and 33 TD passes.
Auburn, on the other hand, will have a first-time starter in Kiehl Frazier taking the snaps.
I wrote three articles about Frazier before he even arrived on campus. I was able to scout the former star recruit who tallied 11,147 all-purpose yards and 158 touchdowns in his final three years at Shiloh Christian on his way to being named the MVP of the state championship game all three seasons.
I am still convinced that Frazier will be a star in the SEC. The question is how soon that will come to fruition.
Clemson also has an advantage at running back with Andre Ellington, who rushed for 1,178 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. Auburn will be without Michael Dyer but has senior Onterio McCalebb slated to start. McCalebb only had 641 rushing yards and 344 receiving yards last year.
However, when he became the featured back in Auburn's bowl game, He had 109 rushing yards and 53 receiving yards with two touchdowns.
Auburn's biggest advantage is on the line. Clemson only returns two starters that will have to match up against a tough Auburn defensive line that should be one of the best in the SEC by the end of the year.
Prediction: Last season I selected the winning team over 93 percent of the time. However, I have been terrible in the Chick-Fil-A openers. As a result, do not bet any money on this prediction. Both teams are breaking in new coordinators and Auburn is headed in the right direction but I am going to pick Clemson in this game.
I think if this game is Week 6 Auburn wins. However, this is Week 1, and Auburn does not have the proven playmakers. If Auburn can dominate Clemson's offensive line then they have a legit shot.
Hope I am wrong and on behalf of the SEC, War Eagle!
Score Prediction: Clemson 31, Auburn 27
Stat Line: Auburn has three turnovers.
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