It's bowl season in college football and despite the College Football Playoff including just four teams there are several matchups that intrigue for one reason or another.
The Sugar Bowl is traditionally a matchup of powers. That isn't the case this time around, but it is a game pitting two big-time Power 5 programs against one another. There are numerous draft prospects in this one, too, including two Sooners players invited to the Heisman ceremony.
Auburn boasts one of the Top 2017 recruiting classes in the country for the second straight season, suggesting this game could catapult the program back to national prominence.
Jan. 2, 2017: 8:30 PM ET
Oklahoma (10-2) finished the regular season ranked No. 3 in the country in scoring (44.7) and total offense (557.3 yards per game).
Auburn (8-4) ranks No. 16 in the nation in yards per play allowed at 4.88, but have been middle of the pack versus the pass (224 yards per game), despite playing in a conference known for balanced offensive attacks.
Baker Mayfield, QB — Oklahoma
Dede Westebrook, WR — Oklahoma
Samaje Perine, RB — Oklahoma
Mayfield enters the game with 44 total TDs, 38 through the air, and a 71.2 % completion rate and just eight interceptions on 330 pass attempts, or one pick per 41.3 passes. His rapport with Westbook is uncommon at the college level and the junior is a threat outside the pocket thanks to above-average foot speed.
Westbrook caught 16 of Mayfield's 38 TD passes and averaged nearly 20 yards per catch. He's a threat on end-arounds, reverses, bubble screens and fly patterns — and nearly everything in between. He's not used a lot on returns, but he does have a 71-yard punt return for a TD this season.
Perine, who shares time with Joe Mixon, often is overlooked, but ended the season with four 100-yard games over his final five games, including two 200-yard efforts (Texas, Oklahoma State).
Carl Lawson, DE — Auburn
Joshua Holsey, CB — Auburn
Kamryn Pettway, RB — Auburn
Lawson gets it all started on defense for the Tigers with a top-end pass rush (9 sacks) and 12.5 tackles for loss. He's credited with 24 QB hurries and can line up anywhere on the line, creating the best matchup.
Holsey has battled injuries, but when he's been on the field he's the Tigers' leader in the secondary along with Carlton Davis. Holsey is expected to play in the Sugar Bowl, giving the Tigers a playmaker on the back end of the defense to combat the Sooners passing attack.
Pettway (1,123 yards, 7 TD, 6.1 yards per carry) is a physical back with plenty of speed for a 240 pounder. Auburn just doesn't get him enough touches inside the five-yard line to take advantage. Pettway has been amazing on third-and-short in 2016, going for 175 yards on 18 carries.
Oklahoma's offensive weaponry likely will be too much for Auburn to counter. Even if the Tigers limit the Sooners' opportunities, it's difficult to imagine Auburn scoring enough points to win this game.