SCOTTSDALE AZ - JANUARY 09: Head coaches Gene Chizik of the Auburn Tigers and Chip Kelly of the Oregon Ducks pose together with the coaches trophy during a press conference for the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game at the JW Marriott Camelback Inn on January 9 2011 in Scottsdale Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

BCS Championship, Auburn Vs. Oregon: Ducks Try To Fly While Representing The Pac-10

The Oregon Ducks are in the BCS Championship, looking to bring home an NCAA title to Eugene. The Ducks hit the field against the Auburn Tigers on Monday night at 5:30 p.m. on ESPN.

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BCS Championship 2011, Auburn Vs. Oregon: Cliff Harris Coming To Lock It Down

You may not know Oregon Ducks freshman Cliff Harris yet. If you don’t, you’ll be getting acquainted with him very soon. Harris, a lock-down corner with a knack for interceptions, possess a boisterous air of confidence that can be off-putting to some, but redeeming to others. Count me among the latter group. In tonight’s BCS Championship against the Auburn Tigers, Harris figures to play a role in the final outcome. Whether it be in the secondary or on special teams, Harris has the ability to change a game at any moment.

Consider the following quotes, the best of Cliff Harris, if you will:

Why did he choose Oregon? (via Daily Emerald)

I needed to get out of Cali, I didn’t want to be no Trojan or no Bruin, but this is close to home still. I love green because money be green.

How did Harris introduce himself to the team? (via Daily Emerald)

Two years ago, a lanky 17-year-old from Fresno, Calif., stood up and addressed his teammates for the first time.

“My name is Cliff Harris, and I’m here to lock shit down,” the newest addition to the Oregon secondary said. Harris then immediately returned to his seat without uttering another word.

And his role on the team? (via USA Today)

Speaking of nachos, Harris said earlier this season, describing his role on the Ducks, that he is “the cheese on top of the nachos.”

And he backs up his talk with his play on the field. On the defensive side of the ball, Harris grabbed five interceptions in 2010, taking one back for a touchdown. Add another 30 tackles and 15 passes defensed and you have a ball-hawking, opportunistic cornerback. In an Oregon secondary that prides itself on forcing turnovers, Harris is a certified thief.

And that punt return game? He’s averaging just under 20 yards a return and has taken four punts to the house. His decision-making, sometimes more than questionable, keeps Oregon fans on edge, but there’s no questioning what he can do with the ball in his hands.

Need an X-factor for tonight’s BCS Championship on the Oregon side of the ball? Look no further than Cliff Harris, the cheese on the Ducks’ nachos. Root for Harris to make plays, if only because it leaves open the possibility of an epic postgame interview.

Watch Harris and the Ducks as they hit the field tonight against the Auburn Tigers in the BCS Championship at 5:30 p.m. on ESPN. Follow our BCS Championship StoryStream for the latest news leading up to the main event in college football tonight.


BCS Championship 2011, Auburn Vs. Oregon: Duck Fans Filled With Panic

It’s a joke around these parts, but fans of the Oregon Ducks feel its necessary to panic, playing through the worst-case scenarios, before each and every game. With the BCS Championship on the horizon, Monday has been no exception. The long layoff, 37 days, has given Oregon fans plenty of time to contemplate the matchup, looking for every available edge their team may have over the Auburn Tigers.

Over at SB Nation’s Addicted to Quack, it’s a full-on panic-fest today, with the BCS Championship fraying nerves and driving folks to drink early in the day. In an effort to get karma on their side, the authors are offering sacrifices, starting with one related to the Washington Huskies. Preparing for work in a purple sweater, author Takimoto had an epiphany.

I was foaming at the mouth, my gums were bleeding, and I had managed to make myself nauseous. I hated who I was, and I felt like crawling back into bed and crying. Is this what being a Dawg is like?

I wore a green sweater to work that day.

The rivalry knows no bounds.

And then there’s Cam Newton. Can the Oregon defense, speedy as it is, contain Newton? Can they keep the Heisman winner in-check throughout the game? Panic level: sky-high.

They aren’t so much thoughts as feelings, Brother. Feelings of sheer terror, I might add. Don’t misunderstand me here. I love this Ducks defense. I love its athleticism. I love Coach Aliotti’s schemes. I love the opportunistic nature of the group. Perhaps most importantly, I love that we go twenty-plus players deep on that side of the ball. That matters when a game is shaping up to be a track meet. Guess you could say I love most everything about the unit and think it deserves more accolades than it’s received. Nevertheless, I’m still terrified

For their sake, the game needs to get here sooner rather than later. With just a few hours left until Oregon and Auburn hit the field, fans won’t have to wait much longer to see the Ducks and Tigers battle it out.

Follow our BCS Championship StoryStream leading up to the game for the latest news and information on the game as the Ducks and Tigers hit the field for the BCS title. For more on the Ducks and Tigers, visit SB Nation’s Addicted to Quack and Track Em Tigers.


BCS Championship, Auburn Vs. Oregon: Tiger Fans Stranded Amid Snowstorm

Imagine you’ve planned for the BCS Championship for months, getting ready to go see your Auburn Tigers play the Oregon Ducks in Glendale, Arizona. Your tickets to the game are in hand, your flight is booked and you’re all packed and ready to go. Then, just before your flight to Arizona is set to takeoff, a snowstorm hits, closing the airport and leaving you stranded. Worst case scenario, right?

That happened for hundreds, if not thousands, of Auburn fans trying to get out of Alabama on Sunday ahead of Monday night’s game. A dusting of snow closed the Birmingham Airport, leaving travelers stranded less than a day before the big game. Flights to Arizona were cancelled and travelers were left frustrated, with few options to see the Tigers hit the field.

“A lot of the commercial planes have already had to cancel flights and people are just stuck with tickets here in Birmingham. Nothing they can do with them,” said Christa Smith. “It’s been a roller coaster of emotions.”

Travel has officially become a nightmare. Airports everywhere in the area were delaying or cancelling flights, forcing hoards of Auburn fans to scramble, looking for trains, planes or automobiles to get them to Arizona.

Looks like mother nature is conspiring against the Tigers on their road to the BCS Championship.


BCS Championship, Auburn Vs. Oregon: Darron Thomas Makes Most Of His Chance

As the Rose Bowl ended last year, with Ohio State emerging victorious over the Oregon Ducks, Chip Kelly had a starter entrenched at the quarterback spot. Jeremiah Masoli led the Ducks to a Pac-10 championship and was ready for what promised to be a huge senior year. In the blink of an eye it all changed, triggered by a series of bad decisions from the quarterback. As the Ducks get set for the BCS Championship against Auburn on Monday night, they’ll do so without Masoli, but with a different, capable signal-caller and decision-maker: Darron Thomas.

After a fierce quarterback battle throughout fall camp, with Thomas and senior Nate Costa going head-to-head for the starting spot, Chip Kelly went with Thomas, the redshirt sophomore. At the time, it was a difficult decision, but looking back, Kelly made a brilliant call choosing Thomas as his quarterback.

Masoli was more of a bruising quarterback, electing to tuck-and-run when his first option wasn’t there. With Thomas, Oregon became a more complete team, thanks in large part to his decision-making in the passing game and ability to make the tough throws. No longer just a run-based spread-option team, the Ducks offense rose to a new level with Thomas at the helm.

Thomas finished the season with 2,500 yards and 28 touchdowns, to only seven interceptions, for the Ducks. His rushing yardage — 492 yards and five touchdowns — doesn’t blow anyone away, but he has the ability to pull the ball down and take off, as well, keeping the defense honest. With burners LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner in the backfield, Oregon has a three-headed attack on offense, capable of beating teams in a variety of different ways.

That one missing element — a viable, mostly-reliable passing game — may have been just what the doctor order for the Ducks, propelling them to the BCS Championship. Kelly’s decision back in August, choosing Thomas to orchestrate his high-powered offensive scheme, was one of many reasons the Ducks are here, playing for college football’s highest honor.


BCS Championship, Auburn Vs. Oregon: Ducks Try To Fly While Representing The Pac-10

The Oregon Ducks survived the Pac-10 this year and were rewarded with a trip to Glendale, Arizona for the BCS Championship. Awaiting them at University of Phoenix Stadium is SEC champion Auburn and Heisman quarterback Cam Newton. The college football world is watching, and the rest of the nation has their eyes on Glendale as the Ducks and Tigers square-off on Monday night.

Oregon is led by a powerful running game, featuring dual-threat quarterback Darron Thomas, Heisman finalist LaMichael James and burner Kenjon Barner. The Ducks boast the third-best rushing attack in the nation, averaging an eye-popping 303.8 yards per game. James led the way with 1,682 yards and 21 touchdowns on the ground, with Barner adding another 519 yards and six touchdowns.

It's not all about the speedy backs and misdirection of the spread-option attack, though. Thomas, in his first year at the helm for Oregon, has shown himself to be a capable passer, as well, keeping defenses honest while hitting the quick-strike time and again. For the year, he's thrown for 2,518 yards and 28 touchdowns, 12 of which went to Jeffrey Maehl. The Maehl-man is just under the 1,000-yard mark for the season, catching 68 passes for 943 yards.

On the other side, it's the Cam Newton show for the Auburn Tigers. The Heisman winner put together a prolific all-around season, throwing for over 2,000 yards and running for over 1,000 yards. Newton finished with 2,589 yards and 28 touchdowns through the air, adding another 1,409 yard and 21 touchdowns on the ground. His game-breaking speed, size and powerful arm creates fits for opposing defense.

Looking to slow down the Ducks' explosive rushing attack will be Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley. The polarizing star is the biggest bright spot on a defense that's been less than spectacular in 2010. Fairley finished the regular season 55 tackles and 10.5 sacks, leaving quarterbacks strewn in his wake all year. Discipline, gap-control and the ability to penetrate, disrupting the Oregon running game will be pivotal for the Auburn defense.

The BCS Championship kicks off on Monday night at 5:30 p.m. on ESPN.

Follow our StoryStream leading up to the game for the latest news and information on the game as the Ducks and Tigers hit the field for the BCS title. For more on the Ducks and Tigers, visit SB Nation's Addicted to Quack and Track Em Tigers.

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