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Flutie Likes Auburn Tonight

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Doug Flutie says Auburn has the edge tonight.
Doug Flutie says Auburn has the edge tonight.

I had an interesting conversation this morning with 1984 Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie. He's in Glendale, Arizona for the big game and is working with The Capital One Cup, which is awarded annually to each of the top men's and women's Division I college athletics programs in the country.

Points toward the Capital One Cup are earned and tracked throughout the year based on final standings of NCAA Division I Championships and final official coaches' polls. The winner of tonight's game grabs 60 points and will take over the lead in the standings.

"Capital One awards $200,000 in scholarship money to the winning schools," said Flutie. "The emphasis is on winning championships. You grab a couple of titles and the points ad up in a hurry."

The first question I had for the former Boston College quarterback was his recollection of the 1982 Tangerine Bowl, a game won by Auburn 33-26. He and Bo Jackson starred in the game and both would go on to win the Heisman Trophy.

"What I remember from that game is Bo Jackson grabbing a quarterback pitch that was behind him and then stiff arming a guy and going right past him," said Flutie. "It was unbelievable. More than anything else, that's what I remember."

Flutie said in the end, Jackson was the difference.

"We're still in the ball game just before the half and Auburn runs the option to the left and Bo makes just a ridiculous play to get into the end zone. We did everything we could in that game just to lose by seven."

The unique thing about that year's Tangerine Bowl was where the programs stood at the time and where they ended up a few years later. Both schools were a season away from making a huge splash on the college football world.

"We didn't really belong on the same field with that Auburn team," Flutie said. "For me, I was just excited to be playing. I was an undersized guy at a small school that wasn't getting much attention. We were just having a blast being in that atmosphere.

"At that time, I didn't have a lot of high expectations for myself. I just wanted to maintain the starting job."

Turning to tonight's championship game, Flutie says he's leaning toward Auburn.

"I'm starting to lean toward Auburn," he said. "The big difference is the Auburn offensive line. Every time I start to talk about this game, I want to say Oregon. I love Chip Kelly and their style of offense and the things they do.

"But I keep coming back to the SEC Championship Game and the way the Auburn offensive line protected Cam Newton against a great South Carolina defensive line. No one got near Newton the entire game.

"In the end, I believe that's what it's going to come down to and I like Auburn to win it."

Let's hope he's right.