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November 19, 2010

Roundtable: Latest BCS title game predictions

At the College Football Roundtable each week, we ask each member of the college football coverage staff for their opinion about a topic in college football.

TODAY'S QUESTION: Who do you think plays in the BCS national championship game?

Olin Buchanan's answer:
Oregon already leads the BCS standings and its remaining games are against Arizona at Autzen Stadium, where the Ducks rarely lose, and at Oregon State, which lost to Washington State last week. I don't see the Ducks losing either game. The Ducks' opponent in the championship game is significantly more uncertain. Auburn still has to play at Alabama and in a rematch with South Carolina in the SEC championship game. Both will be tough to win. Also, there is always the uncertainty surrounding QB Cameron Newton and whether he'll be ruled ineligible. But the NCAA typically doesn't move quickly on those kinds of issues. I mean, it only took the NCAA, what, three years to make a decision on USC? Still, Newton has made Auburn's offense nearly unstoppable, so I'll stick with the Tigers. I project Oregon-Auburn for the national title.

Tom Dienhart's answer:
I have no doubt Oregon will win out to finish unbeaten. A few weeks ago, I thought Auburn would stumble down the stretch because of its spotty defense. But spotty defense or not, I think the Tigers are becoming more galvanized by the Cam Newton situation. This is a motivated team, this is a focused team, this is a team that has tunnel vision. I don't think Auburn, which is off this week, will be derailed down the stretch at Alabama or in the SEC title game against South Carolina. Look for Oregon to play Auburn in the BCS title game.

David Fox's answer:
A non-automatic qualifying team in the BCS championship game looks more and more inevitable each week. That's why I'm picking Oregon vs. Boise State in the title game. Oregon had its one misstep against Cal. I wouldn't be shocked to see the Ducks roll against Arizona and Oregon State. Even without all the off-field issues surrounding Cam Newton, Auburn is a flawed team. If a defense finds a way to slow Newton, the Tigers are finished. Facing Nick Saban and Ellis Johnson in the last two games won't be easy. Then there's Auburn's lackluster defense (ninth in the SEC). I think people forget how many close calls Auburn has had this season -- 17-14 over Mississippi State, 27-24 in overtime over Clemson, a last-play field goal to beat Kentucky. South Carolina had chances against the Tigers in their Sept. 25 meeting. Should Auburn lose, Boise State will benefit. I think the Broncos will move up to No. 2 in the BCS after facing two of the WAC's better teams in Fresno State and Nevada.

Mike Huguenin's answer:
I think Oregon and Auburn win their remaining games and meet in Glendale for the national title. I think the Ducks survived their "losable" game last week at California; I also think they cruise past Arizona and dispatch Oregon State in what promises to be an intense game. I'm less sure about Auburn, but barring a quick resolution on the Cam Newton situation, I don't think anyone can stop the Tigers' offense. Alabama will move the ball on Auburn's defense, but I don't see the Tide shutting down Newton and that high-powered attack. Substitute "South Carolina" for Alabama and "Gamecocks" for "Tide" in the preceding sentence to see what I think happens in the SEC championship game. That would set up what would be an epic offensive showdown in the title game.

Steve Megargee's answer:
I'll go with Oregon and Boise State. I think Oregon passed its biggest remaining regular-season test when it won at California last week. I don't expect the Ducks to have much trouble against slumping Arizona or Oregon State. But I do believe someone will pass Auburn in the BCS standings because I think the Tigers will lose in Tuscaloosa next week. A week ago, I would have forecast an Oregon-TCU title game, but I now think Boise State fills that second spot instead. Boise State already has passed TCU in the Harris Poll and the coaches' poll. TCU remains ahead of Boise State because of its advantage in the computers, but I think Boise State will narrow that gap enough to grab the No. 2 spot in the BCS rankings after knocking off Fresno State and Nevada.

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