Was Dwyer down? Fans of Auburn and Oregon have been asking themselves that since the 2011 BCS Championship Game — the last meeting between the teams — and while memories of the Tigers’ 22-19 win over the Ducks that night are still fresh, there is an opportunity for redemption on Saturday night. No. 11 Oregon and No. 16 Auburn will kick off the 2019 in the only game of Week 1 between top-25 ranked teams when they meet on Saturday night at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
That BCS title game may be only time these two schools have ever met on the football field, but there’s plenty of history already in this showdown, and Oregon would love to get some revenge while maybe changing the way the rest of the country views the Pac-12. As for Auburn, the Tigers might be ranked No. 16, but they’re the lowest of the six SEC teams in the AP Top 25. A win over Oregon could be a sign the Tigers are prepared for a lot more than also-ran status in the SEC this season.
With Gus Malzahn feeling the heat for Auburn, Mario Cristobal looking to make an impact at Oregon, and an interesting quarterback battle in this game, there’s plenty of reasons to watch on Saturday night. The highest-profile matchup of Week 1 is officially upon us. Let’s take a look. And don’t forget to subscribe to our Cover 3 college football podcast. Listen below for locks for the top games in Week 1.
Auburn: The Tigers are coming off an 8-5 season, and there have been too many of those on The Plains for a lot of Auburn fans. In fact, since winning that national title against Oregon, Auburn has played for another national title, but it lost to Florida State in 2013. In the seven seasons other than those title runs, Auburn has gone 52-40. That’s good enough for some programs, but not a team that wants to win national titles like the Tigers do.
This season, Auburn will be trying to do it with a new quarterback as freshman Bo Nix was named as the team’s starter. Nix is the first true freshman to start the season at QB for Auburn in the modern era, and he’s the son of former Auburn QB Patrick Nix (1992-95). Nix was Alabama’s Mr. Football winner last season at Pinson Valley where he played for his father and won consecutive state titles. Now he hopes to bring that kind of success back to Auburn.
Oregon: The Ducks are in a similar situation as Auburn but with a different perspective. They went 48-7 in the four seasons following that loss to Auburn, and lost a title game to Ohio State in the very first College Football Playoff National Championship. The four seasons since have seen the Ducks go 29-22, but they improved to 9-4 last season and are feeling optimistic heading into 2019.
A big reason for that is Justin Herbert, who many believed would leave school for the NFL last season but instead came back for his senior season. Herbert enters the season as a Heisman Trophy candidate. The Ducks also have a freshman defensive end in Kayvon Thibodeaux, who headlines a strong recruiting class for Mario Cristobal and the Ducks. The No. 2 prospect in the 2019 recruiting class, many believe Thibodeaux will have a significant impact from the start.
Date: Saturday, August 31 | Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: AT&T Stadium — Arlington, Texas
TV: ABC | Live stream: WatchESPN.com
Game prediction, picks
It’s hard to go against the Heisman hopeful QB in a matchup against a true freshman, but it’s also hard to pick a Pac-12 team against an SEC squad. Since Auburn last beat Oregon, the Pac-12 and SEC have crossed paths 14 times. The SEC is 10-4 ATS in those games, and that includes a record of 6-0 ATS in neutral site games like this one. Until the Pac-12 proves its capable of not only winning, but covering these games, I have a hard time picking it to. Pick: Auburn (-3.5)
Who wins Auburn vs. Oregon? And which side of the spread cashes in nearly 60 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the spread to jump on Saturday, all from the advanced computer model on a 49-29 run on top-rated college football picks.
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