2010 BCS National Championship Game Prediction from Whatifsports.com From WhatIfSports.com image

Desert Storm: Oregon vs Auburn

The Quack Attack brings a title back to Eugene

By Joel Beall - WhatIfSports.com
January 5, 2011

Using the same college football simulation engine that accurately predicted over more than 75-percent of all regular-season games, we simulated each of the 35 bowl matchups 1,001 times.

Each team's winning percentage, average score and sample box score can be found below. If you would like to replay any bowl game, every 2010 bowl team roster is available using our free NCAA College Football SimMatchup feature.

Using the same college football simulation engine that accurately predicted over 75-percent of all games in 2010, we "played" the 2010 BCS National Championship game 1,001 times. The simulation results are based on rigorous analysis of each team's roster, depth charts and statistically based player rankings. Roster modifications are made in cases of injury or suspension and those player's are removed from their team.

<a href="http://msn.foxsports.com/video?vid=59009238-4cae-4aa1-8bb0-ce54de9c6878" target="_new" title="">WhatIfSports: Bowl predictions</a>

National Championship Game: Ducks vs. Tigers

The National Championship Game, an event that celebrates the sport and crowns a new conqueror, will take place on Monday night in Glendale, Arizona. More importantly, it gives us a forum to rejoice in the game itself, a sentiment that seems to have become an afterthought in the world of college football. Thanks to reports of improper benefits, coaches fleeing players for greener pastures and dads pimping out their sons, we somehow have become more focused regarding issues off-the-field rather than on it. So let's momentarily pause from the proverbial commotion to observe two teams at the pinnacle of their sport striving for supremacy in the southwestern desert.

Normally the phrase "statistics don't tell the whole story" is utilized to describe a player whose contributions don't show in the box score. So one might be perplexed how this idiom is employed to describe an individual who threw for over 2,500 yards, ran for another 1,400, accumulated 49 touchdowns and led his team to a 13-0 record. Yet Cam Newton's ascendancy can't be accurately described with numbers. For figures can't illustrate the fear in opponents' eyes as Newton barrels toward them; or the anxiety the Tiger QB causes opposing defensive coordinators who lay awake many a night attempting the fruitless endeavor of halting the Auburn offense. Does Gus Malzahn's scheme assist in Newton's awesomeness? To an extent, yes. But the talent surrounding Newton is relatively subpar compared to the rest of the Southeastern Conference. Newton's preeminence is also undoubtedly overshadowed by the assertions of his eligibility, a victim of society's TMZ news cycle.

By most accounts, Newton will forgo his senior season and enter the NFL Draft. Some may be appalled at this statement, but as fans, it almost seems as if Newton is robbing us of his greatness. A selfish proclamation indeed, but one that serves as a testimony to his 2010 play. Reggie Bush was more electrifying. Bo Jackson possessed more natural athleticism. Tim Tebow played at a similar level for a longer period. But for one season, no one has ever been as dominant as Newton.

Not that Newton has been the only weapon in Auburn's blitzkrieg. Michael Dyer and Onterio McCalebb have aided Newton in the ground game, as the trio has helped the Tigers average 287.2 rushing yards a contest. When Newton takes to the air, his favorite targets have been Darvin Adams (48 receptions, 909 yards, seven touchdowns), Terrell Zachery (38 catches, 585 yards, 4 touchdowns) and Emory Blake (seven touchdowns). This has correlated to the Tigers scoring 42.7 points per game, fourth-best in the NCAA.

Their adversaries awaiting Auburn are not foreign to lighting up the scoring. The Oregon Ducks are the epitome of a high-octane offense, leading the nation with 49.3 points per ballgame. The catalyst for this offensive explosion has been the running game, which has bowled over opponents to the tune of 303.5 yards per contest. And the nucleus for this inflated figure is running back LaMichael James.

Tostitos BCS National Championship Game - Jan. 10, 2011 Glendale, Arizona
Ducks emblem
Tigers emblem
2 Oregon (12-0)
1 Auburn (13-0)
RB LaMichael James, ORE
29 carries, 199 yards, 4 TD
Oregon: While LaMichael James is the big name, the Ducks get it done as a team with great chemistry and speed -both on offense and defense. QB Darron Thomas stepped in and replaced Jeremiah Masoli. Thomas and James led the Ducks to the top scoring team in the nation (49.3 ppg).

Auburn: The Tigers are led by Heisman trophy winner Cam Newton, who amidst some late-season, off-the-field controversy had a spectacular season. Lombardi award winner Nick Fairley is the leader of the Auburn defense.

Box Score: Oregon exploded in the second quarter, scoring 28 points - three touchdowns via James. The Ducks defense kept Newton in check as the Heisman winner tossed just one TD and ran for 63 yards. Oregon surrendered 24 points in the second half, but the Ducks' first-half outburst held off the Tigers for the BCS National Championship crown.

James made a name for himself in 2009 during the absence of LeGarrette Blount. After receiving just 11 carries in Oregon's first two games, James compiled 230 attempts for 1,546 yards and 14 touchdowns at season's end. This production led many pigskin pundits to prognosticate 2010 success for James and the Oregon offense. However, this prediction was nearly derailed in the offseason, as James was charged of domestic violence, earning an early-season suspension. Luckily for the Eugene faithful, James turned his life around and returned to the football field without missing a beat. Heading into the showdown in Glendale, James has totaled 1,682 yards and 21 touchdowns, earning All-American honors in the process.

But one would be remiss in failing to highlight the other components of Oregon's offensive assault. With the departure of Jeremiah Masoli, there was an aura of uncertainty surrounding the quarterback position, but sophomore Darron Thomas has solidified the signal caller spot. A dual threat, Thomas tossed for 2,518 yards and 28 touchdowns and gained 488 yards on the ground. Jeff Maehl has been the leader of the WR corps, as the senior has hauled in 68 receptions for 943 yards and 12 touchdowns. And while the offense gets the notoriety, the Duck defense is just as imposing. Led by LB Casey Matthews and DB Talmadge Jackson, Oregon asphyxiated opponents to a meager 18.4 points per game, 12th-best in the nation.

So who comes out in this duel in the desert? We asked WhatIfSports college insider and former Florida State Seminole Chris Rix his perspective on the game, and he didn't disappoint.

"The Tiger defense has struggled early in games, needing to come from behind eight times to win this season," replied Rix. "Against this high-powered Duck offense, that won't cut it."

While many are forecasting a triumph for Gene Chizik's squad, Rix sees the game going a different direction. "I believe that Chip Kelly and defensive coordinator Nick Alliotii will have a very solid game plan to confuse Cam Newton, doing enough to help the Ducks prevail by a field goal."

Does the WhatIfSports college football simulation engine agree with Rix? According to our predictions, Oregon wins 69.3% of the time by an average score of 38-32.

Come January 11th, the football world will revert back to conference realignment, coaching changes, players leaving school early, and other off-the-field nonsense. But until then, let's remember why we follow the sport in the first place: for the game itself.

Joel Beall is a Content Writer for Whatifsports.com. He can be reached at jbeall@whatifsports.com.

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