- Ted Miller, ESPN Staff Writer
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Now that Oregon and Auburn are scheduled to play for a second time, will Auburn fans please step up to the podium and, without yielding their glittering BCS championship crystal ball, of course, at least admit that -- just maybe -- Michael Dyer was down?
"Down! Down! Down!" quack an aggrieved mass of Ducks fans.
As announced Tuesday, Auburn's and Oregon's second-ever meeting will in the 2019 AdvoCare Classic in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019. It will be a rematch of the BCS Championship after the 2010 season, which the Tigers won 22-19 in controversial fashion on a last-second field goal.
It should be great fun. Not only the game, but the anticipation of it.
One might predict, oh, a modicum of trash talk and trolling going back and forth across the Mississippi River. But there's no rush, folks. We have four years to sharpen our rapier wits. Heck, there may be even more immediate and efficient and dramatic ways to fire away our new media insults by then.
It's a matchup of teams that project to be in the top 10 based on present trajectories, barring any unforeseen stumbles: Powers of the SEC and Pac-12, college football's two best conferences, barring any unforeseen regional reversals of fortune.
It's a marquee intersectional matchup, a thick and meaty bone-in ribeye of a nonconference game, exactly what college football fans have clamored for, and perhaps fruits of a College Football Playoff selection committee telling Power 5 teams that strength of schedule is paramount and cowardly avoidance of competition -- yep, we're looking at you Baylor -- will be penalized.
Oregon will be hoping to break its AT&T Stadium curse. Its last two games in the glittering monument to Jerry Jones' ego were massively disappointing defeats, first to LSU in the AdvoCare Classic game to open the 2011 season and then in the inaugural College Football National Championship Game against Ohio State at the conclusion of the 2014 season.
It will be Auburn's first game in AT&T Stadium. While Ducks fans might be thinking their team will have an advantage -- particularly with an understanding of the potential distraction caused by the stadium's 160 feet wide and 72 feet tall twin jumbotrons -- Auburn's players will by then have plenty of experience with massive scoreboards.
The last time these two teams met, it was supposed to be a points explosion, with Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton leading an offense that dominated the SEC against Chip Kelly's innovative spread-option offense fronted by running back LaMichael James, who finished third in the Heisman voting.
Instead, both teams were sloppy and out of sorts on offense, piling up yards but not much in the way of points. Auburn seemed to be in good shape, leading 19-11 heading into the fourth quarter. Yet the final five minutes proved to be thrilling, the screws first starting to tighten when Ducks LB Casey Matthews forced a Newton fumble on the Tigers' 40-yard line.
A shovel pass from Darron Thomas to James capped a touchdown drive, the Ducks' first points since the second quarter and what was the only TD of the second half. Thomas then connected with Jeff Maehl for the tying 2-point conversion with 2:33 left.
Auburn took over on its 25-yard line. After a 15-yard pass from Newton, Dyer produced what became the game's most controversial play, transforming a 7-yard gain into a 37-yard dash to the Ducks' 23-yard line, well within Wes Byrum's range. The Dyer run, it must be noted, held up after an official review.
Byrum's 19-yard kick as the clock expired gave Auburn its first national title since 1957. It also was the SEC's fifth consecutive BCS Championship amid what became a run of seven.
Of course, the 2019 matchup will be about Oregon and Auburn. No one will even bring up the past or all that SEC vs. the Pac-12 stuff.