The Winning Angle Play For Auburn and Va.Tech
This Sugar Bowl contests pits the best of the ACC against the best of the SEC. Va.Tech comes in at 10-2 and Auburn at 12-0. Tech comes in with the #34 ranked offense and #7 defense. Auburn is #14 on offense and #13 on defense. This will be the Hokies 12th consecutive bowl under Beamer and they are 4-7 ATS. Auburn has been to 4 consecutive bowls under Tuberville and are 3-1 ATS. Tech has faced 6 bowl teams this year going 5-1 ATS with their lone loss coming to #1 USC. Auburn, despite their easy non conference schedule has faced 5 bowl caliber teams this season outscoring them by an average of 25-13.
Intangibles: The first stat that stuck out for me on this game was the stellar play of Auburn QB Campbell. He is 70% in pass completions with an excellent TD/INT ratio of 19-6. Which is a key stat for a QB playing in a big game that could be won by turnovers. The Sugar Bowl is played inside a dome on the artificial turf. VT has played on natural grass in every game this year. Auburn just played in a dome on artificial turf in their SEC championship game. Although VT sold their allotment of tickets, Auburn should have a distinct advantage fan wise with this game being played in SEC country. Va.Tech won the ACC title in a conference that is in transisition this year. Not taking anything away from their victory. But the ACC title will be much harder to win next year when they go to 12 teams and a championship game. Auburn has already been through that war with a young but talented Tennessee team who they had to beat twice this season.
The one issue I have with Va.Tech is the status of their top RB Imoh, who has had hamstring problems late in the season. I respect the talents of their QB Randall, but I don't believe his improvistional abilities with the football will be enough alone to handle this speedy Auburn defense. In my opinion this Tech team just simply don't have enough playmakers on offense. Auburn on the other hand has got a well balanced team with the running of Cadillac Williams and Bentley Brown and passing of Campbell. Auburn matches Va.Tech at literally every position and surpasses them in many. They even have a big advantage on special teams, which is unusual for a Hokie team.
Auburn is coming in to this game obviously disappointed at not being in the title game. But my feeling here is that this will not have an affect on their play. Like Utah proved last night with their easy win, Auburn has an undefeated season to play for and a coach that isn't leaving. This is a team that is also obviously close to their coach. And with the troubles he's gone through in the last year of almost getting ousted in a coup, I believe this team will play extra hard for him. And you never know, in the back of their minds these players may be thinking if they win this game big and the Orange Bowl game is close (a good possibility) they may be thinking the voters show some sympathy. Not likely with the AP out of the picture. But a big win will make Auburn look good and the BCS look bad. I got this game locked in last night at Auburn -5.5. I would take them up to 7. Take AUBURN minus the points