In the last BCS title game of the BCS era, Auburn will face Florida State at the Rose Bowl and attempt to win the Southeastern Conference’s eight straight national title and the state of Alabama’s fifth straight.
Auburn seems like a team of destiny, as Breitbart Sports has reported:
Three weeks ago, Auburn beat Georgia 43-38 on a miraculous hail mary in the waning moments in the fourth quarter. Last week, Auburn beat Alabama in the Iron Bowl on amiraculous 109-yard return of a 57-yard missed field goal attempt for a touchdown in what was arguably the greatest ending in college football history and one of the greatest sporting events ever played.
But they will face a team in Florida State that can exploit all of Auburn’s weaknesses with ruthless efficiency. Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher, who was on Nick Saban’s staff when he was at LSU as offensive coordinator, has tried to build Florida State like Saban’s Alabama teams since Fisher took over for Bobby Bowden, who reportedly said his only regret in his legendary career as a coach was not being able to coach in the Rose Bowl college football’s most storied venue. Florida State has a defense that has at least eight NFL players on it, but Auburn’s multiple looks and formations and rushing attack may be able to exploit Florida State’s speed and aggressiveness against them. Florida State, though, may have the super athletes to make up for some misreads from which other defenses have not been able to recover. Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, who will most likely win the Heisman Trophy, has three top-notch wide receivers and a tight end that may shred Auburn’s secondary, which has been anything but strong in games against Georgia, Alabama, and Missouri. Winston, though, who was involved in a rape investigation, may face more distractions during awards season and will have to be focused while on the dinner circuit.
Florida State, though, has one of the weakest schedules of any team that has made the BCS title game, and they will be facing a team in Auburn that has the second-most quality wins in the nation after Stanford and is peaking at the right time, as quarterback Nick Marshall now has most of the offensive playbook after finally settling in as the team’s sole No. 1 quarterback. Florida State’s defensive has looked vulnerable, especially up the middle and between the tackles, against teams that have had above average rushing attacks–like Boston College and Miami. And no team Florida State has played this season will have prepared them for Auburn’s speed and ability to run the ball up the middle with superstar backs like Tre Mason, quarterback Nick Marshall and the imaginative nature of Malzahn’s “Hurry Up, No Huddle” offense, which is based on the Wing T formation and basic zone-read schemes. In addition, Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston has not faced a defensive line like Auburn’s. Auburn has superstars like Dee Ford and Carl Lawson on the line and uses an eight- or nine-man rotation so the undersized line is still fresh in the second half.
Auburn’s offense, though, is based so much on rhythm, that one has to wonder how the one-month layoff will impact the still relatively young team and whether it will cool Auburn off. Even with that said, it is tough to bet against Auburn–and the SEC and the state of Alabama–even though Vegas considers Florida State to be an early one-touchdown favorite.
FINAL BCS STANDINGS:
1. Florida State
4. Michigan State
7. Ohio State
9 South Carolina
ROSE BOWL: Michigan State vs. Stanford
This game will be a smash-mouth, old-school, football game between two the country’s best defenses. A classic, no-nonsense football game in an age of gimmicky offenses. Stanford has more talented players (Stanford’s front seven in addition to two players in the secondary will be playing on Sundays) and a tougher, nastier running game that may wear Michigan State down in the fourth quarter, but Michigan State may have the advantage at head coach, with a head coach in Mark Dantonio who has always played to win and not not to lose. Stanford has made four consecutive BCS bowl games, which is the longest active streak after Oregon did not make the Sugar Bowl and is something even Alabama–or any other SEC team–cannot say they have accomplished.
SUGAR BOWL: Alabama vs. Oklahoma
Though Alabama vs. Oregon may have been the sexier matchup, the Sugar Bowl picked Oklahoma after Oklahoma beat Oklahoma State in the bedlam game. The Sugar Bowl will enter into a partnership with the SEC and the Big 12 next year, so the choice of Oklahoma was certainly a business decision to get a jumpstart on the partnership.
ORANGE BOWL: Clemson vs. Ohio State
Two teams that thought they had legitimate shots to be in the title game. Ohio State’s Braxton Miller and Clemson’s Tahj Boyd will put both defenses on their toes.
FIESTA BOWL: Baylor vs. Central Florida
College football fans wanted to see how Baylor would fare against a team like Ohio State, Alabama, or Oregon, but they will not get the chance because Central Florida got the automatic bid from the American Athletic Conference.
Some other bowls:
Alamo Bowl: Oregon vs. Texas
Cotton Bowl: Missouri vs. Oklahoma State
Capital One Bowl: South Carolina vs. Wisconsin
Holiday Bowl: Arizona State v. Texas Tech
Chick-fil-A Bowl: Duke v. Texas A&M
Gator Bowl: Nebraska vs. Georgia
Outback Bowl: LSU v. Iowa
Sun Bowl: Virginia Tech v. UCLA
Music City Bowl: Ole Miss v. Georgia Tech
Pinstripe Bowl: Notre Dame v. Rutgers (at Yankee Stadium)
Las Vegas Bowl: USC v. Fresno State