Auburn vs. Clemson: Chick-Fil-A-Bowl Free Pick: Monday, December 31st, 2007
Chick-Fil-A-Bowl Free Pick: Auburn +2.5
Mon Dec 31 ’07 7:30p
Auburn was a relatively boring, defense-first team this year, exactly the type of team that gets overlooked when bowl season comes around. The Tigers lacked a single marquee offensive playmaker in a conference loaded with them. QB Brandon Cox, a senior, threw only nine touchdown passes all year, and the Tigers finished with the 107th ranked passing offense in the country. And leading rusher Ben Tate split carries with Brad Lester and Mario Fennin, leaving Auburn without a 1000 yard rusher either. In short, this team didn’t impress the betting public very much, giving us value supporting them here as an underdog against an inferior team from a weaker conference.
Auburn’s defense was downright dominant all year. On the road, against Heisman winner Tim Tebow, Auburn held the Gators to their season low in both points and total yards, engineering the outright road upset. On the road, against Heisman runner-up Darren McFadden at Arkansas, the Razorbacks, too, were held to a season low in both yardage and points in an outright upset win for the Tigers. We’re talking about a defense that held five of their last seven opponents to ten points or less, the type of defense that should have little trouble shutting down this pedestrian Clemson attack.
Clemson dominated weak foes all year long, but in sharp contrast to Auburn, they did not fare well when stepping up in class. These Tigers were more like kitty-cats against their elite level foes, blasted at home by both Virginia Tech and Boston College, while being held to a single field goal in an ugly loss at Georgia Tech. And, unlike Auburn, Clemson did not fare well away from home against quality defenses. Tommy Bowden’s squad lost straight up as a double digit favorite against Kentucky in their bowl game last year. Expect a similar result this time around. Take Auburn.