Oklahoma vs. Auburn prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins the Sugar Bowl between the Sooners and Tigers.
Oklahoma vs. Auburn – Sugar Bowl Preview
When: Monday, January 2, 2017
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
TV Broadcast: ESPN
Two national powerhouses, Oklahoma and Auburn, will meet for only the second time in the programs’ histories, with the only other matchup coming in 1972 as the Sooners beat the Tigers 40-22, also in the Sugar Bowl.
Oklahoma comes in as the Big 12 champion, defeating Oklahoma State 38-20 to win the conference title for the second year in a row, while Auburn struggled down the stretch of the regular season, losing two of its last three games as injuries plagued the Tigers offense.
What To Know About Oklahoma
Quarterback Baker Mayfield has announced he is coming back for another season, so expect him and the Sooners offense to use this as a showcase for why they will be so unstoppable next season. It won’t be easy against a strong Auburn defense, and the health status of wide receiver Dede Westbrook after being injured in the win against Oklahoma State will be important for the Sooners. Running backs Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon will need to step up big and get the Auburn defensive line off of Mayfield.
The pressure on the Sooners defense starts up front with lineman Obo Okoronkwo, who leads the defense with nine sacks on the season, including two against Oklahoma State. Linebacker Jordan Evans will contribute in helping shut down the Auburn running game and making the Tigers one dimensional. If Auburn has to pass, safeties Ahmad Thomas and Steven Parker can make life difficult.
What to Know About Auburn
Quarterback Sean White is supposed to be healthy after missing the last two games of the season, and if that is true, the Auburn offense will have some of its firepower back. Still, establishing the running game with Kam Pettway and Kerryon Johnson will remain important to give White time in the pocket. The wide receivers for Auburn are young, but after a full season and another month of practice, they need to step up and realize their potential.
The Tigers have been solid all season long in Kevin Steele’s first season as defensive coordinator. Defensive lineman Carl Lawson is a star that will definitely be able to put pressure on Mayfield in his last game as a Tiger before entering the NFL Draft. It will be up to the secondary to contain the numerous playmakers the Sooners will throw at them.
Offense: Oklahoma. If Auburn was healthy, this would be harder to decide. Mayfield can light up a defense, but …
Defense: Auburn. …this Tigers defense is ferocious. Don’t expect anything to come easy for the Sooners.
Special Teams: Auburn. It isn’t often that a kicker has the choice of leaving college early for the NFL, but Auburn’s Daniel Carlson is that good. Still, expect him to be back on The Plains next season.
Coaching: Oklahoma. “Big-Game” Bob has sort of lost that nickname, but he’s still one of the top coaches in the game.
Intangibles: Oklahoma. Stoops also loves to beat SEC teams.
Matchup To Watch
Auburn offense vs. injury bug
When this offense is healthy, it can be a major problem for opposing defenses. If Sean White isn’t 100%, the Tigers will struggle.
Oklahoma vs. Auburn Betting Odds
Spread: Not available at time of publication
Over/Under: Not available at time of publication
Oklahoma vs. Auburn Prediction
This game should have no problem selling out, with both fan bases having an easy drive to The Big Easy and both boasting reputations of traveling well. Inside the Superdome, the fireworks will be even brighter than the lights on Bourbon Street, with both offenses – that is, if White is healthy for Auburn – able to put up points in a hurry. In what could become a classic, Baker Mayfield will show why he will be one of the favorites to win the Heisman Trophy going into next season, as the Sooners pull it out over a tough, defensive-minded Auburn team.
Oklahoma vs. Auburn Score Prediction: Oklahoma 31, Auburn 27
Campus Insiders Staff Picks
Brian Stultz: Oklahoma
Jeff Bartl: Oklahoma
Rich Cirminiello: Oklahoma
Robert Judin: Oklahoma
Pete Fiutak: Auburn