The first week of the 2012 College Football continues on Saturday and we will see the Clemson Tigers travel to Alabama to take on the Auburn Tigers. The game is scheduled for a 7:00 PM (Eastern) start time and it will be televised live on ESPN. Currently the odds for the game have Clemson favored by 2.5 points for the game, while the total sits at 55.5. Currently 56% of the Public is on Auburn, while 67% is on the Under. Find out what side the Public is taking on all the games by clicking HERE.
Free Analysis: A budding rivalry marked by wild comebacks will be renewed when No. 25 Auburn takes on No. 14 Clemson in a Chick-Fil-A Kickoff game at the Georgia Dome. Clemson nearly derailed Auburn's national championship season in 2010, jumping out to a 17-0 lead before Cam Newton and Auburn rallied at home to win 27-24 in overtime. Clemson returned the favor last season, rebounding from a 21-7 deficit for a 38-24 home win. Auburn leads the all-time series 34-12-2 and had won 14 straight before Clemson's win last year. Dabo Swinney's Tigers come in following a strong 2011 campaign that saw the team win 10 games, go 6-4 in the ACC, capture the ACC title with a blowout win over Virginia Tech (38-10) and earn a BCS Bowl bid. Despite the strong season, things did not end well for Clemson, which got torched by West Virginia in the Orange Bowl, 70-33. In his first season as a starter, Clemson quarterback Tahj Boyd burst on the scene, setting the conference record for TDs with 38 and becoming only the fourth player in ACC history to eclipse 4,000 yards in a season (4,026), en route to All-ACC First-Team honors. Despite a strong passing game, the Tigers were far from one-dimensional in 2011, as tailback Andre Ellington finished the year with 1,178 yards and 11 TDs and he looks to continue that strong play this year. The Clemson defense was embarrassed in the Orange Bowl and caused a change, with new defensive coordinator Brent Venables brought in. Seven starters are back, but the four losses won't be easy to overcome, including the huge hole left at defensive end with the departure of All-American Andre Branch (85 tackles, 17 TFLs, 10.5 sacks). The strength of this unit will be the secondary to start the season, with the return of Rashard Hall (team-high 89 tackles) at safety and Jonathan Meeks (three INTs) at cornerback. Auburn was simply average in terms of offensive production a year ago. The loss of offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn could be considered a negative heading into 2012, but Chizik has brought in former Temple OC Scot Loeffler to fill the void. Quarterback play was suspect all year long in 2011 with both Barrett Trotter and Clint Mosley having their problems filling the large shoes left by Newton. Sophomore Kiehl Frazier gets the nod to start this season and has Chizik's full support. Frazier will be aided by the return of WR Emory Blake (613 yards, 5 TDs in 2011) and Second-Team All-SEC TE Philip Lutzenkirchen (238 yards, 7 TDs last year). There will be a change in the backfield as well, with the dismissal of talented tailback Michael Dyer, as it is now veteran Onterio McCalebb who will handle the lion's share of the carries, after showing his versatility in 2011 (707 rush yds, 344 rec yds, 338 return yds, 8 total TDs). The Auburn defense struggled big time last year, ranking 11th out of 12 SEC teams in both scoring defense (29.3 ppg) and total defense (405.8 ypg). Ted Roof has moved on and has been replaced by former Atlanta Falcons DC Brian VanGorder. The hope is that 10 starters returning to the defensive side of the ball will help improve the numbers under VanGorder.
Free Pick: I will look to the Under in this one. Last year Clemson allowed 10 TD's in their bowl game and for the year they had allowed 29.3 ppg, so they went out and got a new DC in Brent Venables and along with 7 starters I look for this unit to improve greatly. They will also be chomping at the bit to get out there and make amends for last years defensive bowl debacle. For Auburn they struggled last year on defense as they allowed 28.9 ppg, but they had only 3 starters back from 2010 and this year they have 9 back. New DC Brian VanGorder should have them back playing solid defense in no time. The Biggest improvements both teams have made have been on defense this year and I expect a good hard fought low scoring game in this one.
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