In the final game of the bowl circuit, the Auburn Tigers and Oklahoma Sooners meet in New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl. It’s a fine way to end the bowls, excluding the biggest game of them all next week, the National Championship. The Oklahoma Sooners were playing in the college football playoff a year ago against Clemson. The Sooners were unable to beat the Tigers, who just blanked Ohio State on New Year’s Eve to get back to the National Championship.
The National Championship is a familiar picture, as the Clemson Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide play for the second consecutive year for the National Championship. Before we get there, though, let’s take in the Sugar Bowl, the second last college football game of the year, believe it or not.
It feels like it was opening week just yesterday. The thing that sticks out to me the most from that week is the Oklahoma Sooners. The Sooners entered as a top 4 team, but came out of it on the outside. A well-prepared Houston Cougars team got the most of Oklahoma and took them down for a 33-23 final score. Between Oklahoma and Auburn, they went 0-2 in the first week of the season. Auburn had the chance to beat the same team who defeated Oklahoma last season, Clemson, but ultimately came short of pulling it off with a 19-13 win in favor of the Tigers. It was one of the many close calls Clemson were able to get out of alive.
Clemson rolled right through Ohio State and hope to keep it going against Alabama in the National Championship. It’s not going to be easy, but we’ll see if they learned anything from last season. The Tigers played no defense against Bama then, but they looked like a different team against the Buckeyes. They need to bring that same stingy unit to the 2017 National Championship to have any chance. Let’s leave that game for then, though. The Sooners had plans to play in that game before the season started, but Houston and Ohio State sent those plans out the window.
They finished 10-2 and ran the tables in their final nine games, though. The Sooners have to be happy that the Sugar Bowl is finally here. Security footage of running back Joe Mixon punching a girl out cold emerged a few weeks ago, sending the public into a head hunt for Bob Stoops. That’s seemed to simmer since then, but now Stoops can focus on football.
Auburn Tigers vs. Oklahoma Sooners Sugar Bowl Betting Odds:
vs. Oklahoma -3(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Auburn vs. Oklahoma Pick:
Baker Mayfield and the Sooner offense did their thing over the final nine weeks, playing Oklahoma football putting up gaudy numbers. I have no problem with Mayfield against average to below average defenses, but put him in front of a defense that can do something and he crumbles into pieces. He has difficulties reading defenses, albeit, is still accurate with a strong arm. If I were an NFL team, I’d be staying far away from him, but there is no questioning there is some skill there. He’s thrown for 38 touchdowns and interceptions in 2016, along with 6 touchdowns rushing on the ground. Oklahoma were 2nd in the nation with 557 yards per game, also averaging an impressive 44.7 points per game.
The running game was equally impressive at Oklahoma. Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine were a force between the tackles and all over the field for that matter. The Sooners ran for an average of 239.9 yards per game behind their impressive runners. However, my real problem with this team is that they haven’t exactly played top-notch defenses. Running it up against the likes of Texas Tech, Baylor, and Iowa State doesn’t impress me at all.
Auburn have improved tenfold on defense over the last five or so years. They bring a unit into the Sugar Bowl that ranks 20th in yards allowed per game. The Auburn Tigers are allowing an impressive 15.6 points per game. This is the same school that shut Clemson, LSU, and Alabama down. Yeah, Alabama scored 30 points, but the Auburn offense couldn’t help the defense out much.
The Tigers were also without their starting quarterback, Sean White, the last two weeks of the season. White was missed and indicates he’s at 100 percent heading into the Sugar Bowl. Auburn will look to test an Oklahoma defense who allowed 30 points per game on defense. The Tigers are 6th in the country running the football, with 278.5 yards per game. Oklahoma were 55th defending the run. No way can I trust Bob Stoops here against a team who are fully capable of shutting his offense down.
PICK: AUBURN +3 (-110)