The respect from a top five recruiting class continues for the Auburn Tigers as ESPN's "College Game Day" rolls onto the plains of Auburn on Saturday, September 18, 2010.
"College Game Day" takes an expansive look at college football for that particular week with game previews, predictions and highlights from the previous week's play. Football Analyst and co-host of the show, Kirk Herbstreit, made a bold prediction earlier in the season by choosing Auburn as the SEC West champion.
The two teams last met in the Atlanta, Georgia Chick-fil-A Bowl on December 31, 2007. It was 15th ranked Clemson and 22nd ranked Auburn; the Tigers versus the Tigers; Tommy (Tuberville) versus Tommy (Bowden). At the time, neither coach knew the game would be his last bowl game as head coach of the Tigers. For that particular bowl season, the Auburn versus Clemson game had the highest rated television audience for all combined bowls broadcast by ESPN.
College football fans across the nation surely didn't miss a single play as Auburn edged Clemson in overtime. The game may not have held the highest television audience for all networks combined, but it was certainly one of the best bowl match ups of that year.
This Saturday night, we'll witness the Tigers versus the Tigers all over again. Gene versus Dabo. Not as catchy as Tommy versus Tommy, but deep in the pit of my stomach, "Gene versus Dabo" feels like it may be just as much of a nail-biter as was "Tommy versus Tommy."
Texas versus Texas Tech looks to be another intriguing match-up, as the teams kick-off this Saturday at 7 pm. The Longhorns and Red Raiders will be broadcast by ABC television. Will Kirk Herbstreit hop on a plane after "College Game Day" and join Brent Musburger in Lubbock or will the two be in Auburn? Herbstreit has traveled to a different location to call a game after doing his ESPN preview and prediction show elsewhere. Still, I have a feeling I know the answer.
Today, the official Auburn University web site announced that ESPN will also feature South Carolina at Auburn as its feature game at 6:45 pm C.S.T. In the event Musburger and Herbstreit do not call the Clemson at Auburn game, there is a good chance that we will see their friendly faces in one week when the Gamecocks come to town. Perhaps they will call two Auburn games in a row?
The Longhorns and the Red Raiders square up to do battle at roughly the same time as Auburn and Clemson, but I still believe a large contingent of football fans everywhere will choose to watch Gene versus Dabo. Remote controls will probably glow red hot from the channel surfing between games. Pick up extra batteries when you go out for drinks and snacks!
I expect the game plan for Auburn coaches to remain the same. The coaches are doing an excellent job of adjusting the offensive play calling in accordance with how the defense lines up and plays. Defensively, Auburn is doing a good job adjusting to whatever offensive game plan is thrown at them. Work is needed on both sides of the ball and we will see how far Auburn has progressed on Saturday.
According to the current USA Today Coaches Poll, Clemson is currently unranked while Auburn has moved to a rank of 15th. Both coaches are entering the third game of their second season and both coaches are still working to prove that they belong where they are.
So far, Clemson has played North Texas and Presbyterian. Auburn's tough test on the road against SEC opponent Mississippi State should give them somewhat of an edge on Saturday night. The experience of a tougher opponent will carry over this week and prove to be a good friend late.
Some would argue that Clemson is less banged up and more fresh after playing two smaller schools in a row to open the season. Expect to hear from Lee Corso over the weekend, "Not so fast my friend!"
The Tigers game against Mississippi State was played on Thursday night, and as a result, Auburn will have an extra couple of days to rest and prepare for the Clemson Tigers. If Auburn does not go out and shoot themselves in the foot by making critical and costly errors, I expect them to come away with a solid home victory. Just in case Auburn has not learned enough lessons, let's hope the offense puts up big numbers in the first half.
Bring on "College Game Day." Bring on ESPN. Bring on Clemson. "You know where you are? You're in the jungle, baby." And you're gonna see a great football game on Saturday night!
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