The difference in records might not make it seem so sweet at first, but the Sugar Bowl should be one of the best matchups of the college football postseason Monday night when Auburn and Oklahoma square off.
Auburn (8-4) is healthy again after dropping off in the month of November with several key injuries. Oklahoma (10-2) overcame a slow start just like Auburn, and it stayed hot through a nine-game winning streak that earned Bob Stoops yet another Big 12 title.
The matchup in New Orleans will pit one of the nation’s best offenses against a strong defense that turned a lot of heads this season. Here’s what you need to know.
Auburn vs. Oklahoma, Sugar Bowl game time, details
Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
Date: Monday, Jan. 2
Location: Mercedes-Benz Superdome; New Orleans, La.
The line: Oklahoma by 3
What channel is Auburn-Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl on?
ESPN is televising the game.
How can I watch Auburn-Oklahoma online in the Sugar Bowl?
You can stream the game at WatchESPN.
How can I listen to Auburn-Oklahoma on the radio in the Sugar Bowl?
You can listen on Sirius/XM Channel 80.
Who is calling the Sugar Bowl for ESPN?
Brent Musberger is handling play-by-play with Jesse Palmer as analyst and Kaylee Hartung as sideline reporter.
Sugar Bowl: Auburn vs. Oklahoma keys to the game
1. It’s all about the deep ball. There isn’t a better deep ball connection in college football than Oklahoma’s. Heisman finalists Baker Mayfield and Dede Westbrook torched defenses all season long. Mayfield led the nation at 11.1 yards per passing attempt, and Westbrook ranked first in receptions of 50, 60 and 70 yards during the regular season. But Auburn’s pass defense did an excellent job this season of keeping the top on the coverage, allowing just one reception of 60-plus yards and none in the 70-plus range.
2. Sweet offense vs. sweet defense. Oklahoma has arguably the most dangerous offense in college football this season. But the Sooners numbers may be skewed somewhat by their competition. Oklahoma only played two teams this season that ranked inside the Top 20 nationally in yards allowed per play — Houston and Ohio State. The Sooners lost both games. Auburn ranks 16th nationally in that category, and it also has one of the best scoring defenses in the country.
3. All systems go for Auburn. Whenever offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee called the plays, quarterback Sean White was healthy and running back Kamryn Pettway received carries, Auburn won six straight games this season. Whenever one of those areas wasn’t firing at 100 percent, Auburn’s offense struggled. But Lashlee still has the headset, Pettway says he is closer to full health, and White is back in action after missing a month of consistent action.