College Football Picks, Predictions, and Previews: The Way It Oughtta Be

Auburn vs. Northwestern 1/1/2021 College Football Picks, Prediction, and Preview

The Auburn visits Northwestern on 1/1/2021 at 1:00PM.

Auburn and Northwestern face off in a Bowl Game. Yes, it is the truncated postseason of College Football leading up to the College Football Playoff Semifinals. Auburn has a record of 6-4 this season. Northwestern is 6-2 this season. Both have players to meet and know.

Auburn Team Defense Preview

Auburn has had 102 total defensive drives this season and they yield 6.26 plays per drive. The struggle is real. Auburn cannot find a way to get opposing offenses off the field. Three and outs are not common and if the team needs a three-and-out late in a game to get the ball back, it is just not happening.Auburn has shown an inability to stop defenses from converting on 4th Downs and they let opponents get into manageable 3rd Down situations where an RPO may be especially deadly. Auburn opponents pass the football 49.30% of the time.Opponents typically have some form of run/pass balance against them.

This is a pushover defense. There is not enough push from the Defensive Line and not enough imagination from the Defensive Coordinator to cause chaos in the backfield.How effective are opposing offensive lines given what we know about their ability to force negative yardage rushing plays? Auburn can take credit for holding the offensive line of their opponent to 3.26 yards per carry. Sorry to say this about this front seven, but the best way to make an average offensive line look good is for them to face this horrid front seven. This is a team that is getting gashed too much for the tastes of their base. Linebackers are not stopping the bleeding well enough. The breakout rushing plays are simply not happening, it is a massive reach to expect this team to give up big rushing plays.

This is not a disruptive Defense and they get pushed over way too easily. Perhaps they are too vanilla with playcalling. This front seven is simply unable to make an impact, something must change or else the problems will repeat. Auburn has shown themselves to be better at stopping the pass than the run this season.

Auburn Team Offense Preview

Auburn has had 101 drives in non-garbage time minutes and they average 6.19 plays per drive. When you are among the best at plays per drive, you are certainly a team that aims to wear down the opposition with a high play count or with long, physical grinding drives that eat up a lot of clock. We need to find out more here when it comes to Auburn. Auburn is an average offense when it comes to staying ahead of the chains, getting into 3rd and Short scenarios, and converting on 3rd and 4th Down. Auburn passes the football 51.20% of the time.Relatively speaking, this is a team that favors run/pass balance.

Move the pile forward, falling forward, making progress, ensuring north-south running, smart Quarterback reads, well-adjusted alignments to ensure leverage, and an offensive line that is getting a great push forward are cornerstones of this offense. How effective is the offensive line given what we know about their ability to prevent negative yards on rushing plays? More than you think, thanks to the Adjusted Line Yards metric. Auburn can take credit for 3.3 yards per carry. This is an elite offensive line when it comes to generating a push for the running game. They know how to create creases for running backs to break loose. Playing 7 in a box may not be enough for opposing defenses, this is a great O-Line. The offensive line and running back corps deserve a lot of credit for gashing defenses with their running game like the way they have this season. They feature a relatively average explosiveness in the running game, maybe there will be a breakout rushing play, but it is not something to count on from them.

Auburn has bullied and controlled defenses this season, defenses have not been able to dictate what this offense is able to do to them. Opponents should consider a containment strategy. Auburn is among the best in the country at keeping defensive front sevens at bay. Opposing defenses need their secondary players to step up and cause trouble in order for this Offense to be disrupted. Auburn has shown themselves to be a better running team than passing team this season.

Northwestern Team Defense Preview

Northwestern has had 97 defensive drives in non-garbage time minutes and they yield 5.36 plays per drive. There is not much to take away here when it comes to how many plays per drive opponents run, but they are a team that falls in the average window when it comes to plays per drive. Opponents face third and long situations a lot against this defense. This is a defense that forces opponents to commit penalties, have compromised offensive line play, and fail to convert on crunch possessions. Northwestern opponents pass the football 54.62% of the time.They are a team that faces a lot of Air Raid Offenses.

Northwestern opponents have struggled with running the ball and this defense has crushed the spirits of their opponents with zero or negative yard plays. 4th and Short is not a cake walk against this defense, maybe passing on 4th and Short or having some sort of RPO is the way to go here because if an Offensive Coordinator thinks that they can just line and run a Quarterback Sneak or hand it off to a tailback, they are mistaken. How effective are opposing offensive lines given what we know about their ability to force negative yardage rushing plays? Northwestern can take credit for holding the offensive line of their opponent to 3.03 yards per carry. This defense lets offensive lines have too much control over them on the ground, too much push from the opposing offensive line. Running backs should look forward to this porous defense filled with poor tacklers who take terrible angles. Opponents have shown a relatively average level of explosiveness in the running game, maybe there will be a breakout rushing play against them.

Northwestern has made the turnover belt, chain, pads, lunch pail or whatever gimmick they use change hands a lot. This is a Defense that causes pure aggravation. Getting more granual into the front seven and their ability to cause trouble, they are just average in this regard. Northwestern has shown themselves to be better at stopping the pass than the run this season.

Northwestern Team Offense Preview

Northwestern has had 95 drives in non-garbage time minutes and they average 5.82 plays per drive. Northwestern runs a lot of plays per drive and this could wear an opposing defense down. Northwestern is an average offense when it comes to staying ahead of the chains, getting into 3rd and Short scenarios, and converting on 3rd and 4th Down. Northwestern passes the football 45.39% of the time.They favor running the ball as opposed airing it out.

Northwestern struggles with running the ball, getting zero or negative yard plays is disspiriting and the offensive line is not effectively making a good push. Poor playcalling, pre-snap adjustments or post-snap reads may be responsible and this could fall on the Quarterback, Offensive Coordinator, and Head Coach. How effective is the offensive line given what we know about their ability to prevent negative yards on rushing plays? More than you think, thanks to the Adjusted Line Yards metric. Northwestern can take credit for 2.48 yards per carry. So what does this mean? It means that the offensive line has been incredibly disappointing in their contribution to the ground game. When it comes to getting to that second level where linebackers have not crashed down on the line of scrimmage, they are getting stopped with ease. The breakout rushing plays are simply not happening, it is a massive reach to expect this team to bust out big rushing plays.

Defenses have had average success disrupting the flow of the Northwestern Offense. Front sevens are causing an average amount of trouble for the Offense. Northwestern is a better passing team than running team this season.

The Auburn Roster

The Players to Watch for Auburn

Bo Nix QB 6-2 213

This season, Bo Nix has put up 2123 yards and 11 touchdowns. He has thrown 7 interceptions. He has a QB Rating of 123.7thus far this season. Bo Nix has thrown 7 interceptions this season.As a rusher, Bo Nix has 356.0 rushing yards, which puts him in the 92.54 percentile among Quarterbacks. He ran the ball as opposed to throwing the ball 98.0 times this season, which puts him in the 93.73 percentile. Has he hit paydirt as a runner? He has 7.0 rushing touchdowns this season.

Tank Bigsby RB 6-0 204

This season, Tank Bigsby has 834 rushing yards on 138 carries. Was he able to get to the end zone on the ground? He has 5 rushing touchdowns.As a receiver in the backfield, Tank Bigsby picked up 84 yards. He caught the ball as opposed to taking handoffs or catching laterals 11 times this season. Did he score often as a receiver? He had 0 receiving touchdowns this season.

Seth Williams WR 6-3 211

This season, Seth Williams picked up 688 yards. He caught the ball 42 times this season. Did he score often as a receiver? He had 4 receiving touchdowns this season.

Daquan Newkirk DT 6-3 317

The leading tackler among Defensive Tackles for Auburn, Daquan Newkirk has 28 tackles this season. He was able to keep rushers back and penetrate the offensive line with 3 tackles for loss, which puts him in the 78.26 percentile among Defensive Tackles. When it came to rushing the Quarterback, he has been able to take them down 2 times this season, which put him in the 87.17 percentile among all Defensive Tackles in College Football. He has forced 0 fumbles this season.

Big Cat Bryant DE 6-5 250.0

The leading tackler among Defensive Ends for Auburn, Big Cat Bryant has 15 tackles this season. He was able to keep rushers back and penetrate the offensive line with 3 tackles for loss, which puts him in the 74.13 percentile among Defensive Ends. When it came to rushing the Quarterback, he has been able to take them down 3 times this season, which put him in the 88.6 percentile among all Defensive Ends in College Football. He has forced 0 fumbles this season.

Jamien Sherwood DB 6-2 220.0

He is the leading tackler among non-exclusive Defensive Backs (meaning he can play either Safety Position, Nickel Back, Star or even play as a Cornerback in coverage) for Auburn, Jamien Sherwood had 65 tackles which puts him in the 97.61 percentile among returning non-exclusive Defensive Backs. He was able to keep rushers and receivers back on screens with 3 tackles for loss this season, which puts him in the 93.17 percentile among Secondary position players. When it came to blitzing the Quarterback, this season he was able to take them down 1 times this season. Jamien Sherwood as a ball hawker was able to pick off 0 passes this season, which puts him in the 36.42 percentile among returning secondary position players this season.

The Northwestern Roster

The Players to Watch for Northwestern

Peyton Ramsey QB 6-2 220

This season, Peyton Ramsey has put up 1442 yards and 9 touchdowns. He has thrown 8 interceptions. He has a QB Rating of 114.5thus far this season. Peyton Ramsey has thrown 8 interceptions this season.As a rusher, Peyton Ramsey has 213.0 rushing yards, which puts him in the 86.27 percentile among Quarterbacks. He ran the ball as opposed to throwing the ball 73.0 times this season, which puts him in the 87.76 percentile. Has he hit paydirt as a runner? He has 2.0 rushing touchdowns this season.

Drake Anderson RB 5-11 190

This season, Drake Anderson has 256 rushing yards on 62 carries. Was he able to get to the end zone on the ground? He has 2 rushing touchdowns.As a receiver in the backfield, Drake Anderson picked up 28 yards. He caught the ball as opposed to taking handoffs or catching laterals 4 times this season. Did he score often as a receiver? He had 0 receiving touchdowns this season.

Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman WR 6-2 203

This season, Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman picked up 450 yards. He caught the ball 39 times this season. Did he score often as a receiver? He had 4 receiving touchdowns this season.

Jake Saunders DT 6-2 300

The leading tackler among Defensive Tackles for Northwestern, Jake Saunders has 14 tackles this season. He was able to keep rushers back and penetrate the offensive line with 4 tackles for loss, which puts him in the 86.96 percentile among Defensive Tackles. When it came to rushing the Quarterback, he has been able to take them down 1 times this season, which put him in the 70.43 percentile among all Defensive Tackles in College Football. He has forced 0 fumbles this season.

Earnest Brown IV DE 6-5 270.0

The leading tackler among Defensive Ends for Northwestern, Earnest Brown IV has 28 tackles this season. He was able to keep rushers back and penetrate the offensive line with 8 tackles for loss, which puts him in the 94.7 percentile among Defensive Ends. When it came to rushing the Quarterback, he has been able to take them down 1 times this season, which put him in the 64.62 percentile among all Defensive Ends in College Football. He has forced 0 fumbles this season.

Brandon Joseph DB 6-1 192.0

He is the leading tackler among non-exclusive Defensive Backs (meaning he can play either Safety Position, Nickel Back, Star or even play as a Cornerback in coverage) for Northwestern, Brandon Joseph had 43 tackles which puts him in the 88.27 percentile among returning non-exclusive Defensive Backs. He was able to keep rushers and receivers back on screens with 1 tackles for loss this season, which puts him in the 69.67 percentile among Secondary position players. When it came to blitzing the Quarterback, this season he was able to take them down 0 times this season. Brandon Joseph as a ball hawker was able to pick off 6 passes this season, which puts him in the 100.0 percentile among returning secondary position players this season.

Auburn vs. Northwestern Prediction, Picks, and Odds


Prediction: Auburn 20 Northwestern 18

Spread Pick: Auburn +3.5 -107 Pinnacle Sports
Moneyline Pick: Auburn +160 GtBets
Total Pick: Under 43.5 -112 Pinnacle Sports