10-2 (6-2), 2nd Southeastern - West
9-4 (6-2), 1st Big 12 - North Division
Before the season started the Auburn Tigers were my pick to win the National Title. I thought they had a great defense and on offense I thought that Kenny Irons would carry them to the title. But after two losses to Arkansas and Georgia, the Tigers were banished to the Cotton Bowl. Nebraska was one win away from a BCS bid. They lost the Big 12 Championship game to the Oklahoma Sooners. Two of their other losses were close games against Texas and they held their own when traveling to LA to play USC.
Nebraska is back as an offensive power, but not the same way they use to be. Gone are the days of Tommy Fraizer and the option, now we have Zac Taylor and the Husker's passing attack that is good for 253 yards per game. They compliment that passing game with a rushing attack that gains another 175 yards. Defensively there is room for improvement as they give up an average of 340 yards per game.
Zac Taylor leads the Husker passing game throwing for 3071 yards with 25 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. His main receiver is Maurice Purify who caught 7 touchdown passes. The point man in the rushing game is Brandon Jackson with his 950 yards rushing, but Marlon Lucky also had over 640 yards. The both combined for 13 touchdowns on the ground.
Auburn hurts people by rushing the ball and controlling the clock. The Tigers averaged over 170 yards on the ground per game. Kenny Irons is the leading rusher with 821 yards rushing and 4 touchdowns but his backfield mate Brad Lester has 9 touchdowns to go with his 510 yards rushing. The duo is tough to stop. Their QB has had some rough times this season. Cox finished the year with 2087 yards and 13 touchdowns. He seemed to vanish in big games.
The Tigers have a shut down corner in David Irons, the brother of Kenny Irons. Overall the defense is pretty stout holding opponents to 297.5 yards per game and they held LSU to 3 points in that victory.
I really like the job Bill Callahan has done with the Huskers, but I don't think they are "there" just yet. Another year with his recruits and we may be telling a different story. I am going to stand by the team I thought was the best from the get-go and take Auburn in this one. I think their defense will hold the Huskers' passing attack at bay and Kenny Irons will show flashes of why many thought he was a Heisman Candidate in the beginning of the season. Auburn 34-17
Brian from CFR