The Capital One Bowl Game Of The Week is a preview of a pivotal matchup featuring teams from the Big Ten and/or SEC that could impact the bowl picture.
Clemson (2-0) at #15 Auburn (2-0)
Saturday, Sept. 18 ï¿½- Noon
Jordan-Hare Stadium – Auburn, Ala. (ESPN)
Auburn leads series 33-11-2
Last Meeting: Dec. 21, 2007 (Auburn 23, Clemson 20)
Clemson scored 42 points in the first half of its week two matchup against Presbyterian College. Seven different players found the end zone in for the Tigers the 58-21 victory. Quarterback Kyle Parker passed for 114 yards while adding two touchdowns. Roderick McDowell ran for 89 yards on nine carries and added a score. The Clemson defense forced three turnovers and kept Presbyterian scoreless in the first half.
Despite losing top running back and ACC Player of the Year C.J. Spiller and top receiver Jacoby Ford to graduation, the Tigers are only one spot away from cracking the Top 25 in the Coachesï¿½ poll. Clemson has not won an ACC title since 1991 and are just 1-4 against ranked teams under head coach Dabo Swinneyï¿½s tenure.
Auburn ended the 2009 season receiving a bid to the Outback Bowl where they topped Northwestern, 38-35, in overtime, but had an overall rocky season. After starting 4-0 and cracking the Top 25, it lost to both Arkansas and Kentucky. The Tigers seemed to recover from the two losses when they defeated Ole Miss and Furman but finished the season with losses to Georgia and Alabama.
Even though it returns 15 starters, much of Auburnï¿½s success depends on newcomer quarterback Cameron Newton. In the SEC opener against Mississippi State, Newton passed for 136 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He was also the Tigers leading rusher with 17 carries that totaled 70 yards. Onterio Calebb added 68 yards on 12 carries. Six different receivers tallied a catch while Darvin Adams and Emory Blake both caught passes for touchdowns. Terrell Zachary led the way with four receptions totaling 32 yards.
Impact on Bowl Picture
Clemson has momentum toward the ACC Championship as many of the title contenders ï¿½ Florida State, Georgia Tech, UNC, Miami, and Virginia Tech ï¿½ have suffered an early non-conference loss. Clemson has one of the toughest schedules in the ACC as they play Coastal division favorite Miami at home, travel to Atlantic division favorite Florida State and finish their regular season campaign against an invigorated South Carolina team. Auburn is favored to finish second behind rival Alabama in the SEC West and could angle for an at-large BCS birth even if they are unable to upset the Tide in the season-ending Iron Bowl.
Auburn and Clemson share more than a mascot. Walter Riggs, who was the first coach of Clemson football, played at Auburn and had a large hand in Auburn hiring legendary coach John Heisman. Heisman coached at Auburn from 1896-1899. He then took the coaching job at Clemson in 1900 and coached there until 1903. Heisman coached two games in the series between the two schools and has won a game as both the Auburn head coach and the Clemson head coach. Auburn is also the only school Heisman coached to ever have a winner of his namesake trophy ï¿½ Pat Sullivan in 1971 and Bo Jackson in 1985.