Auburn, South Carolina countdown to kickoff - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Auburn, South Carolina countdown to kickoff

ATLANTA, GA (WBRC) - The Auburn Tigers and the South Carolina Gamecocks prepared Friday to do battle for the second time this season to determine who would be the champion of the Southeastern Conference.

Both schools were considered underdogs in the preseason to win their SEC division titles. Auburn, 12-0, defeated South Carolina, 9-3, during the regular season and enters the game ranked No. 1 in the national BCS rankings.

Auburn head football coach Gene Chizik says he's excited about playing in the SEC title game.

"It's going to be a great, great challenge for us," Chizik said. "South Carolina is probably playing the best football they've played all year. Extremely, extremely talented, as we know, as we faced them the first time. It was very evident that's a great football team."

Chizik said South Carolina has improved since his team faced them in September.

"They're much improved," Chizik said. "It's going to be a huge, huge challenge for us. They're a whole football team from top to bottom. Offense, defense, special teams. Just very solid in what they do. Very well coached, as you would expect."

South Carolina head football coach Steve Spurrier said his greatest challenge will be stopping Auburn quarterback Cam Newton.

"He's hard to tackle," Spurrier said. "He's a real good passer, too. And obviously their last game against Alabama, their running wasn't all that great like it normally is, but he hit three big passes for touchdowns.
So you gotta give Auburn credit for the year they've had."

Spurrier said his team's greatest improvement since losing to Auburn is pass defense.

"After we left Kentucky, we were sort of in disarray and really Arkansas picked us apart pretty well," Chizik said. "But they've picked apart everybody. So maybe shouldn't go by that game. But our defense and our pass defense has really improved here these last three games. And that's what's given us a chance certainly to win."

Chizik said his special teams have improved since the South Carolina game.

"I hope we've made a lot of improvement there," Chizik said. "The consistency of our football team right now was not there Saturday. And that's some concern. I felt like we should have been more consistent the way we played."

Auburn and South Carolina play Saturday at 3 p.m. CT in the SEC Championship game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. If Auburn wins, it is expected to play in the BCS National Championship game on Jan. 10, 2011, in Glendale, Ariz.

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