Game of the Week – Aug 31
With Florida’s narrow win over Miami last Saturday, the college football season is officially underway. We are finally able to look forward to Saturday as a day of laying on our couches, stuffing our faces with potato chips, and watching Clemson and Alabama secure the #1 and #2 spots in the CFP. However, while Alabama and Clemson will surely be featured in future Game of the Week previews, we have a much more anticipated matchup this week: #11 Oregon at #16 Auburn.
The history of these teams is rather bizarre. Their lone matchup came on the biggest stage: the 2011 BCS National Championship, where Auburn scored a go-ahead touchdown as time expired to win it all. Since then, Oregon’s reputation as a top-10 team has been tarnished; however, they are in a position this year to turn that all around. Oregon will be returning 17 of their starters from the 2018 campaign, where they went a respectable 9-4 and picked up a bowl win against Michigan State. Among these starters are QB Justin Herbert and RB CJ Verdel, whom will look to continue to lead an offense that scored 34.8 points per game last season. Add in an offensive line that has a combined 153 starts and this offense could be reminiscent of Oklahoma’s 2018 campaign. Meanwhile, senior LB Troy Dye, who has 313 career tackles, will head up an experienced defense that can, and should, be able to limit the run game and create opportunities for their offense.
On the other side of the field, Auburn will be looking to set up shop and begin their voyage on one of the toughest schedules of the season. Auburn’s schedule includes six top 12 preseason teams, including 2018 national runner-up Alabama. As for their team, Auburn’s roster, which boasts 13 seniors, is teeming with experience. However, Auburn is the also the only preseason top 25 team to be starting a true freshman at the quarterback position, which poses a huge weakness that opposing teams, particularly those in the stacked SEC, will look to penetrate. So, with a solid defensive unit, Auburn’s season is currently looking to be defined based on the competency of the young quarterback in the powerful SEC.
When these two teams collide on Saturday, you can expect to expect nothing. Both of these teams are highly skilled with a lot of experience, with the major X factor being Auburn QB Bo Nix. While it appears that an offensive show is imminent, both of these defenses have the necessary skills to force errors and limit scoring. The game airs on ABC at 7:30 ET on Saturday.