If you are a college football fan, you are well aware of what the BCS is. If you are an Auburn fan, you are well aware of what the BCS did to the Tigers in 2004. Need a refresher? The BCS kept Auburn out of the National Championship, and instead sent Oklahoma, who were eventually slaughtered by Southern Cal. Now, there’s no way to know what would have happened had Auburn played Southern Cal, but any devote fan such as myself would argue till they are blue in the face that Auburn could have kept up with, if not beat, the Trojans. In the news recently, NBA superstar Kobe Bryant has stated that he thinks this years Olympic basketball team could take down the “Dream Team.” Obviously, the two teams won’t ever play, but it got me thinking “What if (arguably) the best two Auburn football teams from the past 20 years got together and had it out on the gridiron?” That would be a game I would like to see, but clearly it will not ever happen. So rather than watch the two teams battle on the field, I took a pen to paper and put together an in-depth comparison of the two squads. (By the way, MJ and the boys would wipe the floor with Kobe and the rest of those cocky fools.)
1. QB Play: This one goes to 2010. Cam Newton was undoubtedly the best Quarterback in Auburn history, and arguably the greatest college football player of all time. He took home the Heisman in 2010, and seemed like he was breaking a new record every time he stepped on the field. Nothing against Jason Campbell, he had a great career for the Tigers, but he was no Cam Newton. There wont be another player like Cam Newton for a long time, or maybe ever.
2. Running backs: I’m giving this category to the 2004 team. Ronnie Brown and Carnell “Cadillac” Williams were the best 1-2 punch in football back then. It was a tall order for defenses to stop one of them, let alone both of them. 2010′s trio of Michael Dyer, Mario Fannin and Onterio McCalebb was talented, but Ronnie and Cadillac are two of the best running backs Auburn has ever had, and they had them at the same time. They were a devastating backfield when they played together.
3. Offensive Line: 2010. Those guys were good. They did not allow many sacks (though it was pretty tough to sack Cam Newton). Ryan Pugh and Lee Ziemba were both stellar that season. 2004′s line did have Pro Bowler Marcus McNeil, but I’m still giving the nod to 2010.
4. Defensive Line: This one is a toss up. 2004 saw the talents of Stanley McClover, Quentin Groves and future Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowler Jay Ratliff. 2010 on the other had one of Auburn’s greatest D-linemen of all time in Lomardi Award winner Nick Fairley. Fairley had a supporting cast of Nosa Eguae, Mike Blanc and Iron Bowl saving Antoine “Hot Boy” Carter. Pretty tough to declare a winner in this category.
5. Linebackers: 2010. Darren Bates, Eltoro Freeman, Craig Stevens, and Josh Bynes were all very talented, whereas 2004′s line backing core really was not much to talk about.
6. Secondary: 2004 not only wins this category, they dominate it. Junior Rosegreen, and Thorpe award winner Carlos Rogers made Quarterbacks look silly that year. Whereas recently, it has been the QBs picking apart Auburn’s secondaries.
7.Wide Receiver: I hate that it is this way, but Wide Receiver, at least in my time as a fan, has not been much of a spotlighted position at Auburn. That being said, both 2010 and 2004 had decent squads. 2004 featured Courtney Taylor, Ben Obamanu and Devin Aromashadou, while 2010 had Darvin Adams, Terrell Zachary and QB turned receiver Kodi Burns. It is a close call, but I am giving this one to 2004. Mostly because Courtney Taylor is one of my all time favorite Auburn players.
8. Tight End: 2010 gets this one. Phillip Lutzenkirchen was, and still is, one of the most consistent players on the team. He is just what a coach wants out of a Tight-End; his blocking is spectacular, and his route running and receiving abilities are superb. He also has one of the cooler last names in Auburn football history.
9. Kicking: This category goes to 2010. Wes Byrum has ice in his veins. Numerous times that season he was called on to close out a win for the Tigers, and he answered the bell every time, including a clutch game wining field goal in the final seconds of the BCS National Championship game. How could you not give him the nod for this category?
10. Coaching: Incredibly hard to declare a winner here. I’ll break it down, coach by coach. I’m giving Offensive Coordinator to 2010. Guz Malzhan was an offensive genius. He was a mad scientist, and Cam Newton was his chemistry set. The things those two did together were magical. Plus, I never was a huge Al Borges fan. Defensive Coordinator goes to 2004. As most Auburn fans know, the D-Coordinator that year was current Head Coach, Gene Chizik. His performance that year was a big reason he was eventually given the Head Coach position. As for Head Coach, it is really a toss up. Both Chizik (2010) and Tommy Tubberville (2004) were named coach of the year by the Associated Press. I am tempted to give the nod to Chizik, because he was able to get to the National Championship,and in only his second year. But, lets not forget that that was all up to the BCS, and Chizik did have Cam Newton. I’m calling this one a dead tie.
So, who would win? It would be one hell of a game, but, like I said before, Cam Newton may be the best college football player of all time. I think he would be too much for even Chizik’s awesome defense to handle. After all, he ran through countless SEC defenses with incredible ease in 2010.
I think that 2004 secondary could contain Newton through the air, but all he would have to do is look toward the ground, and take off running. Ronnie and Cadillac would rack up some good yardage against that 2010 defense, but not enough to win. Much like it was for most opposing teams in 2010. In classic 2010 fashion, I think Cam would lead a last minute drive and put the game in the hands of Wes Byrum, who would nail another clutch field goal, to steal the game from the 2004 squad.
Final Score: 2004: 27, 2010:30.
Who do you think would win?