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Some thoughts from SI's Stewart Mandel

  • "If Boise State faced Auburn tomorrow, Cameron Newton might well run for a whole bunch of yards. He's done so against every team he's faced. But if Tyler Wilson (who?) can throw for 332 yards on the Tigers, what ungodly numbers would Kellen Moore put up? Auburn is currently the highest-ranked team in the SEC -- and yet, if they played, I would consider Boise State the favorite."

    "It was fun while it lasted, but the Martinez-Denard Robinson hype machine screeched to a halt Saturday, around the same time that Auburn's Cam Newton made it abundantly clear whom the most lethal dual-threat quarterback is in the country right now."

    "Unlike Robinson and Martinez, who rely almost entirely on their breakaway speed -- which is negated when facing similarly fast defenses -- Newton is a 6-foot-6, 250-pound battering ram who spent much of Saturday's Arkansas game either bowling over or dragging helpless defenders around his ankles. A week after running for 198 yards and four touchdowns on 28 carries against Kentucky, the junior carried 25 times for 188 yards and three scores against the 12th-ranked Razorbacks. He also completed 10 of 14 passes for 140 yards and a score to remain second nationally in pass efficiency (180.5).

    Having said that, Newton faces his own moment of reckoning this week when the fifth-ranked Tigers host sixth-ranked LSU in a clash of 7-0 teams. Newton has faced a more notable gauntlet to date than Robinson or Martinez, but he hasn't seen anything like LSU, which boasts the No. 3 defense in the country. It's entirely possible Drake Nevis and Co. will humble Newton the way Texas did Martinez. He'll almost certainly have to throw more than 14 times to win.

    Or, Newton could put up another 100-yard rushing day, put Auburn in the thick of the national title hunt and assert himself as the undisputed Heisman leader, in which case I'm guessing we'll see more and more stories about his "troubled past," with more and more mentions of an inaccuracy I've seen numerous times.

    So please, fellow writers and fans, take a moment to get your facts straight. Cameron Newton did not steal a laptop. Really. He made an error in judgment, which he's discussed candidly, but he is not a thief, nor was he dismissed from Florida. He left on his own accord, in large part because Tim Tebow decided to return for his senior season.

    As it turns out, Newton may follow in Tebow's footsteps after all -- in New York."

    "Each week, I'll update my projected BCS lineup (as necessary) based on the latest week's games:

    Title game: Boise State vs. Alabama

    Rose: Iowa vs. Oregon

    Fiesta: Oklahoma vs. Utah

    Orange: Florida State vs. West Virginia

    Sugar: Auburn vs. Michigan State

    I'm throwing darts this week. With my midseason Crystal Ball predictions due later this week, I couldn't just slap up the status quo, because I firmly believe nearly every current top 10 team is going to suffer a loss between now and December, with the possible exception of Alabama, which would rise to the top of the one-loss pack. Whether voters keep Boise State above the fray will likely remain unknown right up until Dec. 5.

    Equally arbitrary: Picking a Big Ten Rose Bowl representative (I went with Iowa under the assumption that the Hawkeyes will hand Michigan State its sole defeat) and dealing with TCU and Utah, which meet on Nov. 6 in Salt Lake. Right now I favor the Utes, ever so slightly. I reserve the right to change my mind before then."

    "• LSU at Auburn, Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET): The home team has an explosive offense and an extremely suspect defense. The visitors have a dominant defense and ludicrously suspect offense. It should be fun, and it should be entertaining, because CBS will insist that Les Miles stage a last-minute drive regardless of the score."

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    TIGER, tiger, burning bright In the forests of the night, What immortal hand or eye Could frame thy fearful symmetry?