The opening weekend of the college football season features a rematch of the 2010 national championship game between the Oregon Ducks and Auburn Tigers. The game will be played on neutral ground at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. BetAnySports lists the Tigers as -3.5 point favorites with an over/under of 56 points.
Oregon vs. Auburn Game Overview
The heat is on Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn as the 2019 season gets underway. The Tigers began the 2018 campaign as a top-10 team but quickly faltered, going 8-5 overall and just 3-5 in SEC play.
Falling well short of expectations like that is unacceptable at Auburn, so Malzahn needs a win against a ranked Oregon team in the season opener to help get him back in the good graces of the fan base.
Of course, whether his team will be ready to play a high-level game right off the bat is another story. The Tigers will be replacing quarterback Jarrett Stidham with true freshman Bo Nixon. They also have some issues to sort out on the offensive line and will be without their two leading receivers from 2018.
The supporting cast around Nixon is far from ideal for a true freshman quarterback. The saving grace for Auburn could be their defense, particularly their defensive line, which is one of the most talented in the country.
The Ducks, meanwhile, have one of the most experienced offensive lines in the country heading into the 2019 season. That should create a fascinating matchup at the line of scrimmage.
It’s a matchup that Auburn will need to win if they want to slow down Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert. The senior made the surprising decision to return to school even though he had a chance to be the top pick in the NFL Draft.
As a result, the Ducks will be led by one of the early Heisman frontrunners. Oregon also returns 1,000-yard rusher CJ Verdell in the backfield and a veteran group of receivers that has been improved by the arrival of Penn State transfer Juwan Johnson.
In other words, Herbert has all of the weapons he’ll need if the Auburn defensive line can’t win the battle at the line and put consistent pressure on him.
Oregon vs. Auburn Free Game Prediction
It’s usually a safe bet to pick the SEC team in an early-season matchup against another power-conference team. But this might be one of the exceptions. Auburn’s defensive line is their biggest strength, but Oregon has a chance to neutralize it and allow Herbert room to operate.
Not only does Auburn need to win, but they also need to cover more than a field goal. Bet on Oregon at least covering the +3.5 spread and possibly winning the game outright.