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Feb 6, 2013; Auburn, AL, USA: Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton cheers with students during the game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Auburn Tigers at Auburn Arena. The Tigers beat the Tide 49-37. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

The Sweet 16 of BCS Era Champions: Alabama vs Auburn, 2010 vs. 2012

Alabama vs Auburn: it’s a rivalry synonymous with college football, and perhaps the most heated in all of sports. Thus, it’s only fitting the slate of Sweet 16 match-ups ends pitting the most recent of Alabama’s three BCS championship-winning teams against the Auburn squad that stuck a pin in the Crimson Tide dynasty.

The 2010 Auburn Tigers were not a one-man team, contrary to popular belief. Championship football teams aren’t built on one player — it’s simply not possible. That said, Cam Newton’s Heisman-winning 2010 was one of the most impressive individual campaigns in the sport’s history. He reached a rarefied air no player achieved before him, and is unlikely to anytime soon after by scoring 30+ passing touchdowns and 20+ rushing.

Less attention is paid to the dangerous tandem backfield of Michael Dyer and Onterio McCalebb. The Tiger ball carriers combined for over 1900 yards, including the 37 Dyer broke off to essentially seal the crystal ball.

Auburn’s defense was nothing to trifle with, either. The Tigers allowed 24 points per game — not a yield that would put it in league with any of the great defenses in college football by any means — but the talent was certainly there. Moreover, AU rose to the occasion when needed, like against the high-powered Oregon Ducks in the 2011 BCS championship.

Nick Fairley’s 11.5 sacks and absurd 24 tackles for loss paced the Tigers while Josh Bynes, Zach Etheridge and Demond Washington combined for nine interceptions. No, Auburn was no one-man team in its run to the national championship.

No one would dare label the 2012 Alabama Crimson Tide a one-man show. Running backs Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon could have put up gaudier numbers on any number of rosters, but deferred to one another in a balanced offense. Quarterback A.J. McCarron put up equal parts modest and impressive statistics in the passing game, operating effectively behind one of the most talented offensive lines in recent years.

And the defense. Oh, that defense. At 10.9 points per game, the Crimson Tide defense was the best in the nation. Dee Milliner earned All-America honors captaining a Tide secondary that ranked No. 7 in the FBS. Manning the linebackers corps, C.J. Mosley was a machine with 107 tackles. The Tide held four different ranked opponents below the 20-point threshold.

Alabama vs Auburn. Iron Bowl. Sweet 16. Cast your vote below.

BCS Sweet 16: Who Advances?

  • 2010 Auburn Tigers (71%, 192 Votes)
  • 2012 Alabama Crimson Tide (29%, 79 Votes)

Total Voters: 271

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Tags: Alabama Crimson Tide Auburn Tigers Football

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