The first time Auburn and South Carolina played this season the Tigers won an exciting contest at Jordan-Hare Stadium and there is no reason to believe that the rematch at the SEC Championship Game on Saturday won't be an exciting game, too.
Auburn has won all 12 times it has played this season, winning by large margins and small ones. The Tigers are one of those teams that knows how to win a football game and has that "it" factor. South Carolina has a talented team, too, but has lost three games and I think that makes a difference if both teams are ready to play, and I think that will be the case on Saturday.
This Auburn team hasn't played great in every game this year, but from game one to game 12 it has played to win. It has been a team that has not gotten frustrated, no matter what the situation. The players have stuck together, have believed in each other and believed in the coaches and their plan.
Combine that with a defense that has played well when games are on the line plus an offense led by the best player in the SEC and the country, quarterback Cameron Newton, and I like Auburn's chances of winning again this week and earning a spot in the BCS Championship Game.
In other games around the country:
Pitt at Cincinnati--After a strong season in 2009, Cincinnati has not had a good year. Look for Pitt to win on the road even though the Panthers have struggled some, too.
Nevada at Louisiana Tech--Nevada's offense will be too much for Tech.
Northern Illinois vs. Miami of Ohio--The MAC Championship game features a hot Northern Illinois team that has won nine consecutive games. Northern Illinois is putting up a lot of points and that should be too much for Miami of Ohio and its solid defense to overcome.
Southern Methodist at Central Florida--Central Florida has the better record and homefield advantage for the Conference USA Championship Game. UCF looks like the better all-around team with its 7-1 conference record and should win this one.
Oklahoma vs. Nebraska--Two old rivals meet in the Big 12 Championship Game. Nebraska is leaving for the Big 10 and would love to go out as the conference champion, but I believe Oklahoma will be too tough for the Cornhuskers.
Southern Cal at UCLA--UCLA has only won four games this season, but I think the Bruins will win in an upset.
Editor's Note: This part of a series of columns that College Football Hall of Fame member Pat Dye is writing for AUTigers.com about the game he played and coached. An All-American at Georgia and one of the top head coaches in SEC history at Auburn who was also head coach at East Carolina and Wyoming, Dye participates in the Legends Poll, a Top 25 rating of the best teams in college football as determined by a panel of all-star former head coaches. Dye writes three columns a week--The Dye-Log, the Dye-Gest and Pat's Picks.
(If you have a question or a subject you would like me to write about in future columns, you can email it to PatDye@autigers.com.)