The amazing story of Auburn and Cam Newton will continue Saturday when they meet South Carolina in the SEC Championship Game. The Tigers have trailed by double digits in four games this season, only to go on and prevail each time. Their best comeback came last week in the Iron Bowl when Newton and crew erased a 24-0 first half deficit to defeat Alabama 28-27. With a win over the Gamecocks in the Georgia Dome, Auburn will head to the BCS Championship Game and compete for the league’s fifth straight national title.
South Carolina has the weapons to win in running back Marcus Lattimore and receiver Alshon Jeffery, plus they are coached by Steve Spurrier. The ole Ball Coach has won this game many times before and can never be counted out in a big game. These two squads met in late September at Auburn, and South Carolina led 27-21 in the fourth quarter before Cam Newton rallied the Tigers for 14 points to win 35-27.
All eyes will be on Newton in this game, and the star quarterback was cleared to play after some controversy earlier in the week. It has been a wild ride for Auburn and Newton over the last month, but it’s all systems go (for now). The Tigers can’t afford to fall behind again, especially with a workhorse like Lattimore on the other side. An SEC and possible BCS title are on the line in what should be a stellar rematch.
The ACC Championship Game features two of the league’s annual stalwarts in Virginia Tech and Florida State. The Hokies are one of the nation’s hottest teams with a 10-game winning streak, but the Seminoles have won 13 out of the last 14 contests between these two teams. Jimbo Fisher looks to have FSU going in the right direction in his first season as head coach, but it’s always a tough challenge matching wits with Frank Beamer. Quarterback play will probably decide this tile tilt as Tech’s Tyrod Taylor and Florida State’s Christian Ponder lead their respective clubs.
The other huge story in the league is Miami’s firing of Randy Shannon after their painful loss to South Florida. The Cane alum recruited well in-state, but he could not get the team over the hump on the field. Miami has still not participated in an ACC Championship Game, and there was a feeling in Coral Gables that the program was stagnant and falling behind the others in the Sunshine State. The next hire will be huge for the Hurricanes, as they look to regain the confidence of a dwindling fan base and return the brand of “The U” back to national prominence.
Nebraska and Oklahoma will meet Saturday in what looks to be the final Big 12 Championship Game. The Sooners and Cornhuskers own one of the best historic rivalries in the country, but that will be lost when Nebraska bolts for the Big Ten next season. As far as this game, the Husker defense will be challenged by an Oklahoma offense that has scored 145 points in their last three games- all wins. However, Nebraska intercepted OU’s Landry Jones five times in last year’s 10-3 win over the Sooners. Bob Stoops will try to continue his league dominance by winning an important game for Big 12 pride.
Enjoy the pigskin on what should be an entertaining Championship Saturday.