Commentary

Auburn lacks a championship defense

2010 Tigers are like 2008 Sooners -- and remember what happened to them versus UF

Originally Published: December 5, 2010
By Jeff Dooley | ESPN Insider
Oregon Ducks CelebrationJason O. Watson/US PresswireThe Ducks could celebrate in Glendale, too, if Auburn's D lets them hang more than 24 in that game.

Throughout the season -- you can check the most recent edition of the Eliminator here as an example -- two facts have been consistent in our Eliminator rankings: The Oregon Ducks have been the BCS title contender that most closely resembles past national champions, and the Auburn Tigers have a flawed statistical profile because of certain deficiencies on defense. Our model will be put to the test Jan. 10, when the two teams meet in the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game.

But reaching the conclusion that the Ducks will take down the Tigers isn't that simple; our model looks at certain statistical categories that correlate with winning in college football as well as set benchmarks in these categories that have been met by past BCS title winners to see which teams this season most closely resemble past champions (from a statistical standpoint).

Auburn has been coming up short on defense all season long, and it's still missing a benchmark in points allowed per game. (No national champion of the past six seasons has allowed more than 19.9 points per game; the Tigers are giving up an average of 24.5.) However, Auburn's defense has improved in other defensive categories, including turnover margin and sacks per game, and it has one of the more stout run defenses in the country.

So to break down this matchup, we've broken down each benchmark individually to see where each team is vulnerable and what chance Auburn has going up against a statistically superior team -- with a national championship on the line.