College football takes over the sporting arena tonight with the final BCS National Championship game before next year's College Football Playoffs. The game features (2) Auburn against (1) Florida State in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. Can FSU bring a National Championship back to Florida? Will Auburn make it eight straight BCS titles for the SEC?
First, the data on how to watch the game:
BCS National Championship Game
Auburn vs. FSU
Game time: 8:30pm ET
Stadium: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California
Tickets: Find available seats here.
TV Channel: ESPN Family of Networks
TV Announcers: Brent Musburger, Kirk Herbstreit
Radio: ESPN Radio (Station Locator)
Odds: Florida State by 10 | O/U: 67-1/2
12-1 (7-1 SEC)
After a miserable 2012 season, in which Auburn went 3-9 and 0-8 in the SEC, suddenly, the Tigers were right back in the hunt, looking to rebound in Gus Malzahn's first year as Auburn's head coach. And, rebound they did, w.inning an SEC Championship and a spot in the final BCS National Championship.
The Tigers started the year with wins over Washington State and Mississippi State before their lone loss came at the hands of LSU. From then on, however, Auburn started rolling. They beat Ole Miss, then upset Texas A&M in College Station, and blew out Arkansas and Tennessee.
What people will remember about Auburn's 2013 season will be the miracle finishes they had to finish the regular season. Against Georgia, with just 36 seconds left in the contest and a 38-37 deficit, everything appeared to be ending. Quarterback Nick Marshall dropped back and threw a pass into triple coverage, only to see the ball get batted away by Josh Harvey-Clemons of Georgia. Only away is not down, and the ball hung in the air just long enough for Auburn wide receiver Ricardo Louis to snatch the ball out of the air, finishing the 73-yard touchdown pass and giving Auburn hope heading into a match up with defending National Champions and undefeated Alabama.
The Iron Bowl would not be outdone by the Georgia game. It was a game that Auburn couldn't win. Alabama out-gained the Tigers by more than 100 yards. Crimson Tide quarterback AJ McCarron threw for nearly 300 yards, while Marshall didn't crack 100. Alabama scored 21 straight points in the second quarter and should have had the game put away then. A 99-yard touchdown pass from McCarron to Amari Cooper surely would be the death knell for Auburn. Then, this:
Time had run out in the game, but Alabama argued there should be one-second remaining on the clock. And, they were given it. So, Nick Saban sent out redshirt freshman kicker Adam Griffith for a 57-yard field goal attempt. Auburn's Chris Davis caught the short kick nine-yards deep in the endzone, and 109-yards later was standing in the endzone having won the game, ended Alabama's chance for a three-peat Championship, earned Auburn a shot at Missouri in the SEC Championship game, and suddenly thrust themselves from a great college football story to national championship contenders.
A 59-point destruction of Missouri to win the SEC Championship and Auburn's turnaround fro 3-9 to potential National Champions was complete.
(1) Florida State
13-0 (8-0 ACC)
FSU's 2013 season was less dramatic than Auburn's year. When you are racking up a nation-high 53 points per game, while allowing just 10.7, you are not exactly stressing most of the games. In fact, Heisman Trophy winner, quarterback Jameis Winston, didn't play the second half of several games, simply because there was no competition.
The Seminoles started their year with a 41-13 win at Pittsburgh, followed by a 62-7 win against Nevada and a 54-6 win over Bethune-Cookman. Once into the ACC portion of their schedule, the domination did not slow, with scores like 63-0 over Maryland and 51-14 against Clemson. Florida State handled by intrastate rivals, Miami and Florida, with 41-14 and 37-7 respective final scores. Against Duke in the ACC Championship game, FSU rolled to a 45-7 win.
And, what could be a problem for Auburn is not the high-powered offense Florida State brings with them, but rather the suffocating defense. While FSU's offense is tops in the nation, the defense is third. They are the top passign defense in the country, and the 13th best rush defense. Of course, with the 10.7 points allowed average, they are also the top scoring defense.
Florida State has been building for this moment, and they were built on both sides of the ball with domination in mind. Now, they will have to prove it.
Draft Prospects to Watch:
- Christian Jones, OLB, Florida State (6'4", 232 pounds) - Mocking the Draft Big Board: 46
- Dee Ford, OLB, Auburn (6'2", 238 pounds) - Mocking the Draft Big Board: 55
- Tim Jernigan, DT, Florida State (6'2", 298 pounds) - Mocking the Draft Big Board: 78
- Cameron Erving, OT, Florida State (6'6", 320 pounds) - Mocking the Draft Big Board: 86
- Tre' Jackson, G, Florida State (6'4", 330 pounds) - Mocking the Draft Big Board: 91