Clemson at Auburn
You say Cam Newton, I say Kevin Steele. I've been going back and forth on this one all week and I decided on Clemson about 5 seconds ago.
Auburn is a 6 point favorite and the home team and, most importantly, has won the last 13 matchups between these two. It is worth noting that Auburn has 8 home games again this year, which is the most of any SEC team.
Clemson is untested, Auburn is not. Clemson has squared off against North Texas and Presbyterian. Auburn won a Thursday night game at Mississippi State on a short week of preparation. Good thing they didn't schedule James Madison five days later! This should be a close game and a good game but it comes down to a few things;
ESPN Gameday is in Auburn (Because they were at Alabama last week?)
Senior Auburn RB Mario Fannin dislocated his shoulder again last week and has done so in 2 of the last 3 games. If he plays, he will not be totally effective.
That leaves true freshman RB Mike Dyer and sophomore RB Onterrio McCalebb to provide rushing yardage and to pick up the blitzes which are sure to come at them from Kevin Steele and Charlie Harbison..
Of particular importance is that McCalebb "bulked up" to 171 lbs. in the offseason. I'm sure he kept all that weight during August two-a-days. That sound you just heard was me clearing my throat.
If that duo doesn't provide rushing yardage look for Cam Newton to pull it down early and run it himself. If that happens, and it probably will, look for Clemson Defensive Coordinator Kevin Steele to have a plan in place. Kevin Steele was a stellar Defensive Coordinator at Alabama under Nick Saban and he has a fine defensive front and defensive backfield.
Clemson QB Kyle Parker, a first round selection in this year's MLB draft, broke Auburn's heart in the College World Series this year. He is a big time talent and knows how to win.
Clemson's QB, Offensive Line and RB's Jaime Harper and Andre Ellington are better than Mississippi State's. Auburn was very fortunate to win that game and I predict that they fall a little short this week.