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2011 BCS Champ. Position Breakdown - Offense
Oregon QB Darron Thomas
Oregon QB Darron Thomas
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jan 7, 2011


It's almost here. Everything the entire season has been building towards ends on Monday night when Auburn and Oregon finally get to settle the debate. Who has the advantage at each position? Where are the strengths and weaknesses? As a primer, check out the position-by-position breakdown of the 2011 BCS Championship, starting with Darron Thomas and the quarterbacks.

2011 BCS Champ. Breakdown

Auburn vs. Oregon - Quarterbacks

- CFN 2011 BCS Championship Preview  
- CFN 2009 BCS Championship Breakdown - Florida vs. Oklahoma   
- CFN 2010 BCS Championship Breakdown - Alabama vs. Texas

CFN 2011 BCS CHAMPIONSHIP POSITION BREAKDOWN

- Quarterbacks | Running Backs
- Receivers | Offensive Lines
- Defensive Lines | Linebackers
- Secondaries | Special Teams | Coaches

By Pete Fiutak

Auburn: Remembering that Tim Tebow’s Florida team ended up losing the 2008 Capital One to Michigan in his groundbreaking Heisman campaign, being the first quarterback to run and throw for 20 touchdowns in the same season, Cam Newton is one win away from coming up with the greatest season for any quarterback in the history of college football. Not only did he win the Heisman, and not only did he lead his Tigers to the SEC championship and to the BCS Championship game, but he led the nation in passing efficiency, was 15th in the nation in rushing, and finished the regular season with 28 touchdown passes, just six interceptions, and with 1,409 rushing yards and 20 touchdown runs. What makes his year all the more remarkable is the way he did it all under the most intense of outside pressure and scrutiny, seeming to thrive in the face of the scandal involving his father and the solicitation of $180,000 from Mississippi State.

On and off the field, he has been a peerless leader for the Tigers, and make no mistake about it, he is the star of stars in the 2011 BCS Championship and he’s the one the rest of the team follows blindly. With a skill set that defies logic, he’s 6-6 and 250 pounds with speed and a gliding ability that makes it looks effortless when he’s tearing off yards in chunks. Nothing has rattled him so far this season, and if the way he brought the team back to beat Alabama, and the way he ran for 217 yards and two scores against LSU are any indication, he should thrive in the biggest spotlight of the season.

Oregon: Remember, the Oregon quarterback situation was up for grabs all offseason after the offense lost its star. Jeremiah Masoli was dismissed from the program after stealing a laptop from a frat house, and he ended up playing for Ole Miss. It was all doom-and-gloom for the preseason Pac 10 favorites as Masoli’s bruising, efficient style gave the team a leader to work around and an identity on the way to the 2010 Rose Bowl. But Darron Thomas turned out to be even better.

The slippery sophomore wasn’t the battering ram runner for the attack that Masoli was, but he was an ultra-efficient passer who had a knack for running the up-tempo offense at the perfect speed at just the right time. The 6-3, 205-pounder from Houston is a good runner, tearing off 492 yards and five scores, but his job is to get the ball out of his hands to the rest of the playmakers, throwing for 2,518 yards and 28 touchdowns with seven interceptions. He came up with his best game in the biggest moment, running for 117 yards and a score, and completing 20-of-29 passes for 238 yards and three touchdowns in the win over Stanford. He doesn’t have to be Cam Newton, but he does have to stand up in the face of pressure from the Auburn defensive tackles, and he has keep the chains moving by making the key throws on third downs.

ADVANTAGE: Auburn. Thomas is a terrific talent who turned out to be the pitch-perfect conductor for the up-tempo attack, but Newton is arguably having the greatest single season of any player in the history of college football. As unflappable as the two starters have been, handling the emotions in a game like this with six weeks off will be new considering these are both first-year starters without a bowl résumé. Neither one has to carry his respective team, but if Newton is the runner he was in the win over LSU, and/or is the passer he was in the second half against Alabama, Auburn will win.

CFN 2011 BCS CHAMPIONSHIP POSITION BREAKDOWN

- Quarterbacks | Running Backs
- Receivers | Offensive Lines
- Defensive Lines | Linebackers
- Secondaries | Special Teams | Coaches