Preview Of National Championship
Auburn and Oregon will meet on the gridiron tonight to play for the BCS National Championship. It is the first appearance in the title game by both schools. Here is a preview of the Tostitos BCS National Championship game, courtesy of espn.com.
Though the national title game is void of any traditional powerhouse programs, it's impossible to argue either team doesn't belong.
Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton refused to let Auburn lose and Oregon was rarely at risk, assuring the BCS of a most intriguing showdown between power conference teams in its showcase event Monday night in Glendale, Ariz.
A matchup no one expected would decide the BCS champion when the season began has the potential to be the highest-scoring in this game's history, with the Ducks going for their first national title and the Tigers seeking their first in more than half a century.
"We're not happy with just going to it, we wanna go and win it now," Ducks wideout Jeff Maehl said. "We put too much hard work and time into it to not go there and play well."
These teams have owned the top two spots in the BCS standings since late October and wouldn't give them up. While the Ducks' only real close call was a 15-13 win at California on Nov. 13, the Tigers came much closer to blowing it because they needed eight come-from-behind wins -- four by double digits.
"Our football team has been probably one of the most resilient groups of young men I've seen in 25 years of doing this," coach Gene Chizik said.
Newton overcame all the headlines over possible recruiting violations to lead Auburn to a 13-0 record and the No. 1 spot in both the BCS and AP polls following a 56-17 rout of South Carolina in the SEC championship game. Oregon ended up No. 2 with a 12-0 record behind tailback LaMichael James, who finished third in the Heisman voting.
That combination caused BCS-busting hopeful TCU and its 12-0 record to miss out on a chance at playing for the championship, again keeping mid-major schools -- and potentially a lot of controversy -- out of the bowl season's finale.
Excluding the inaugural BCS title game in 1999, this is the second time both teams are making their first appearances. The other came in 2001 when Nebraska faced Miami, but those are perennial powers who have won plenty of national titles.
Auburn's only one came in 1957 and Oregon has never won one. All the other winners of this game over the past 10 years have multiple national titles to their credit.
Plus, this is the first time two teams which began the season not ranked among the AP's top 10 are playing for the BCS crown. Oregon started at No. 11 while Auburn was No. 22.