One of the top non-conference matchups of week three of the 2011 college football season this Saturday (12:00pm ET) features the 21st ranked and defending BSC National Champion Auburn Tigers (2-0) of the SEC traveling to Death Valley to take on the Clemson Tigers (2-0) of the ACC. Coach Gene Chizik’s Auburn team is coming off of two straight dramatic victories at home to open the season, a 42-38 nail biter over Utah St. to open the season and a 41-34 win over SEC-rival and then-16th ranked Miss. St last week that featured a goal line stand by the Tiger defense to end the game. Clemson covered the 14.5 point line last week in dispatching of Troy 43-19 at home, after opening with a 35-27 to close-for-comfort win over Wofford in which they failed to cover the 24 point line.
Auburn has been as erratic on defense as they have been explosive on offense through the first two games of the season. The Tigers are allowing an average of 489.5 yards per game, the 9th worst total in the country, with 560 yards allowed rushing the second worst total in the country.
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Auburn vs. Clemson Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Auburn Tigers +3
@ Clemson Tigers -3
Over 61 (-110)
Under 61 (-110)
Auburn vs. Clemson Pick:
Auburn won last season’s meeting at Auburn 27-24 in overtime, failing to cover the 7.5 point line. The over is 8-2 in Auburn’s last 10 games in September, and they are 1-6-1 ATS in their last 8 games against ACC teams. Clemson is 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games against the SEC, and the under is 7-2 in their last 9 games against ACC teams. Auburn currently has a 17-gmae winning streak, the longest among FBS teams. On offense, their running game was improved last week with Michael Dyer running for 150 of their 231 rushing yards, after the Tigers ran for only 78 yards in the opener against Utah St. Clemson has racked up an average of 206 YPG on the ground in their two games against sub-par completion, led by Andre Ellington who had 165 yards on 22 carries last week. The Clemson defense has not exactly been stout against the run, even against the aforementioned inferior completion. Wofford ran for 272 yards against the Tigers
Clemson has not exactly been focused in the early part of the season, especially on defense in barely squeaking by Wofford in the opener and trailing 16-13 at halftime against Troy before rallying to win in the second half. Auburn has been generally atrocious on defense, allowing 36 points per game ranking 104th in the nation, and showing a complete inability to stop the run, with only a slightly better by comparison ability to slow down the opposing passing game. This game has all of the elements of a high-scoring shootout, with soft defensive units on both sides of the field and offensive units that are capable of both running and throwing the ball effectively. Auburn QB Barrett Trotter is no Cameron Newton, but he has completed 71.7% of his passes with an average of 8.8 yards per completion this season, and his top target Emory Blake has averaged over 20 yards per reception this season, along with RB Dyer the Tigers have the playmakers to score against a Clemson defense that had trouble stopping and FBS school (Wofford) in their opener. Clemson QB Tajh Boyd has been outstanding in his first year as a starter, with 525 yards passing and 6 TDs with only 1 INT through 2 games. With RB Ellington available to shoulder some of the load, Clemson should have a field day with a subpar Auburn defense. The bet here is the over, as Death Valley will be a hotbed of offense on Saturday.