Let’s do it again
by Nick Van Der Linden / ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR
Dec 02, 2010 | 2826 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
LINDEN
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This Saturday, the Auburn Tigers will make its fourth appearance in the Southeastern Conference Championship game, facing Steve Spurrier and the South Carolina Gamecocks.

The game will be a rematch of the Sept. 25 game that Auburn won 35-27 with the help of four fourth quarter turnovers.

Auburn and South Carolina have played just nine times during their histories, including only five meetings since South Carolina joined the SEC before the 1992 season.

Auburn leads the series 7-1-1 and has won all five SEC games between the schools.

Since the teams played each other during the regular season, this championship game will mark the sixth time since the inception of the SEC title game in 1992 that there is a rematch.

The team that won the first game also won the title game in four of the five previous rematches.

The Gamecocks have won three straight games with help from talented players, such as Marcus Lattimore and Alshon Jeffery, to finish the regular season 9-3.

Running back Marcus Lattimore has proven why he was one of the nation’s top recruits.

Lattimore ranks second nationally among freshmen in rushing, averaging 101.3 yards per game and is tied with Cameron Newton for 19 touchdowns scored.

South Carolina is making its first ever appearance in the SEC championship game, so Tigers’ defensive coordinator Ted Roof needs to be ready for some trick plays.

Spurrier hasn’t had to dig deep into the playbook over the last several games, and the Gamecocks have nothing to lose.

Also expect South Carolina to throw the ball.

Although South Carolina’s primary strength lies with the run, no team has been successful running the ball against Auburn’s defensive line.

Because of this, look for Gamecock receiver Alshon Jeffery to have another big game against the Tigers.

Jeffery, a Biletnikoff finalist, had eight catches for 192 yards and two touchdowns in the first game against the Tigers.

Jeffery ranks fifth nationally, averaging 112.6 yards receiving per game.

Make sure Jeffery is covered at all times, bring pressure from the front four, and Auburn is looking at its first conference championship since 2004 and its first ever trip to the BCS national championship game.

Although scenarios have presented themselves in the past, the chances of Auburn making it to the national championship scene with a loss this Saturday are slim to none.

Going back to 2007, LSU and Ohio State competed in a championship matchup with three losses between the two teams.

With losses to Kentucky and archrival Arkansas, the LSU Tigers were still able to win the West, securing a spot in the SEC championship game.

The Tigers beat Tennessee to set up a game with Ohio State, which had one regular season loss.

The Buckeyes were stunned at home by an unranked Illinois team, but were able to climb back in the rankings, benefiting from late losses of other teams.

The chance that Auburn will receive the same love from voters is doubtful, especially with an undefeated TCU team waiting to get a shot.

Because of this, Saturday is a must win if the Tigers want a shot at its first national title since 1957.

According to ESPN.com, there is a good chance we will see Cameron Newton in interviews following Saturday’s game since the Southeastern Conference could fine Auburn for not making Newton available for postgame interviews following the conference title game.

Conference Commissioner Mike Slive could fine a school for violating this rule, but has never had to do so.

Even if the Tigers lose the championship game and earn a bid to a BCS bowl game, Auburn should consider this year a great success.

The Tigers have accomplished a feat by going undefeated in regular season play and have proven themselves to be one of the best in the nation’s best conference.

This Saturday we’ll see if the Tigers can go out there and do it again for the first time since 2004.
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