There is no need to rehash the Iron Bowl, the Tigers won and that is the most important factor. Fans must accept that the offense looked stagnant and the offensive line play was less than inspired. This needs to change if the team plans to win in Atlanta.
These are new circumstances for the Auburn Tigers. There will be much speculation of what will happen if the top-ranked Tigers are upset in Atlanta. This is simply to generate excitement and wonder for the fans of so many teams that are out of the BCS Championship picture at this point.
Pundits have repeatedly mentioned that South Carolina has improved since playing Auburn the first time. This is possible, both teams have played a tougher schedule since that point. That was Week 4 of the season, and this is Week 14. Fans can take a quick look and see if this might be true.
South Carolina before Auburn
South Carolina 2010 Season
Improvement is in the eyes of the beholder. South Carolina has yet to hold a good offense under 30 points this year. They have played three good offenses on the season and lost to all three. How has Auburn progressed since the South Carolina Game?
Auburn before South Carolina
Auburn 2010 Season
Auburn has played the much tougher schedule since the two teams met earlier this year. South Carolina will be the sixth currently ranked opponent Auburn has faced this season. Auburn will be the fourth currently ranked team South Carolina has faced this season.
Auburn will be the ninth team South Carolina has played without a break. Auburn has played one game since having an off week. South Carolina is somewhat fatigued and a little gimpy in places. Auburn is healthy and rested.
Auburn came out a little rusty and out of sync on offense in their last game. South Carolina looked like the Gamecocks have all season long against Clemson.
Most of the media hatred will subside now. The agendas different media outlets were pushing has subsided or been decided at this point. Boise State crumbled under pressure and that was the dark horse many were pushing. Oregon, TCU, Stanford and Wisconsin are actually less of a national brand than Auburn and not as attractive for ESPN.
A Few Thoughts
Auburn fans can stop worrying about the Cam Newton situation. The NCAA is simply doing a basic eligibility investigation on Cam Newton. The investigation has progressed in a slow and methodical way since July of this year. Nothing new has come out in over a month.
The picture being hyped by the media does not resemble any investigation the NCAA has ever took part in. There is no chance the media has this right, or has the NCAA decision figured out. This has been the most reported story with the least accurate information ever.
Steve Spurrier does not give South Carolina any more benefit in the SEC Championship game than he did in Jordan-Hare Stadium earlier this year. Auburn will have a huge crowd advantage there as well.
The SEC Championship game will actually be less distracting than the Iron Bowl. The environment will actually be quite friendly toward Auburn and the team. This is the hometown of Cam Newton.
A Quick Look at the Two Teams
Now it is time to take a hard look at these two teams. Some things can change with time, but some will remain the same. Football teams seldom completely change their identity over the course of a season. These are basically the same two teams that played in Week 4.
Auburn will be able to run on South Carolina.
South Carolina will not be able to run on Auburn.
Both teams will be able to pass effectively in this game.
Auburn will have the advantage on both the offensive and defensive lines.
South Carolina has a distinct advantage in receiving.
The Auburn defensive line will wear down the South Carolina offensive line as the game moves along.
Average Per Carry
Average Per Pass Attempt
Average Per Play
1.75 per game
2.08 per game
Tackles For Loss Allowed
5.25 per game
5.5 per game
Red Zone Offense
Third Down Conversion Rate
Average Allowed Per Play
Average Allowed Per Play
Average Allowed Per Play
2.5 per game
3.25 per game
Tackles For Loss
6.83 per game
7.25 per game
Red Zone Defense
Third Down Conversions Allowed Percentage
Time Of Possession
24 per game
20.5 per game
Penalties Yards Lost
54.5 per game
41.17 per game
What to Expect
There is very little difference between the effectiveness of these two defenses. There is a rather large advantage for Auburn on offense. This advantage is in scoring, passing and rushing.
South Carolina has no answer for the Auburn defensive line. This will be a very big factor in Saturday's game. South Carolina has very little chance of controlling the Auburn rushing offense. If they do find a way to control the Auburn rushing offense, the Auburn passing offense will be effective.
South Carolina will have a window of opportunity starting in the first quarter. If they go into the half with less than a 21-point advantage, it will be difficult for them to win. If Auburn starts executing on offense early, this game could easily become a high scoring affair.
Auburn should win this game in a bigger way than they did the first meeting. The best chance for South Carolina is to simply outscore Auburn in a track meet, and the Gamecocks are simply not that kind of offensive team.