5 reasons Auburn beats Florida State and wins the BCS National Championship

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The BCS National Championship is only 14 days away, so the big dance between Auburn and Florida State is quickly approaching.

Auburn owns the biggest turnaround in college football, and they are just four quarters from completing one of the best stories – ever. From 3-9 to 12-1 and SEC Champions, and the only thing lacking is a national championship.

Related: SEC’s most valuable programs

FSU, on the other hand, has dominated opponents the entire season, and they have looked like college football’s best and most talented team in 2013.

Here are five reasons Auburn beats FSU on January 6th:

1. Destiny: Don’t mess with Destiny’s Darlings. Auburn won four come-from-behind games in the fourth quarter this season, and three of them came in the final minute. In fact, in all three wins, there was a combined 36 seconds remaining on the clock. Nick Marshall threw a TD to TE CJ Uzomah against Mississippi State; Marshall threw the 73-yard tipped TD pass to Ricardo Louis against Georgia, and Chris Davis took back the ‘Kick-Six’ against Bama. How can you beat that? Sometimes it doesn’t matter who the team of destiny plays, and there are times when teams have to catch breaks and take advantage of it in order to win a championship. Credit Auburn for creating its own destiny.

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2. Dominant running game/tempo: Nick Marshall and Tre Mason headline college football’s nastiest running game, and Auburn is the only team in college football to have four 600-yard rushers; Oregon didn’t even accomplish that feat. Mason went for 1,621 yards and 22 TDs, while Marshall went for 1,023 yards and 11 TDs. However, Corey Grant and Cameron Artis-Payne offer different dimensions and styles. Grant is a homerun threat, averaging 10 yards per carry, and he racked up 650 yards and six TDs, while Artis-Payne is more of a bully, rushing for 609 yards and six TDs. Combine all four runners with the quickest up-tempo attack in the country, and it’s very different than practice speed. But we’re leaving out the most significant part of it all – the offensive line, which has been outstanding all season. Auburn has about five base plays they run with about three to four options per play. But they execute those five plays perfectly.

Related: SEC’s top 10 games of 2013

3. FSU bigger unknown: How good is Florida State? That’s what everyone is asking with two weeks left to the national championship. The Noles played one semi-close game against Boston College during the season; all other games have been complete and dominant blowouts. How will they react to playing a close game on college football’s biggest stage? How will a Heisman-winning freshman react to a close game in the fourth quarter? Well, we just don’t know. What we do know is Auburn is battle-tested and has lots of experience playing in close games. Six of Auburn’s wins have been by eight points or fewer, and that experience of not panicking in a close game will benefit the Tigers. Gus Malzahn has continued to say all season, “If the game is close in the fourth quarter, I like our chances.” I do, too.

4. Big-play Marshall: ‘But they’re one-dimensional.’ That’s why a large majority of the country is picking against Auburn. However, when Nick Marshall has to throw it, he delivers; he has all season. Marshall’s passing numbers (1,759 yards, 60.4%, 12 TDs, 5 INTs) don’t just come out and smack you in the face, and they sure won’t impress FSU’s talented defense. A great example of Marshall’s game came against Alabama, where he threw for less than 100 yards, but he also threw two TDs on two big-time plays and throws. He’s one player who has taken his game to the next level over the course of the season. Marshall looked like a liability against Washington State; he looked like a championship quarterback against Alabama and Missouri. The evolution of Nick Marshall has been fun to watch, and it’s what every coach dreams about.

Related: 5 Heisman contenders from SEC for 2014

5. SEC-BCS history: BCS history is on Auburn’s side, and the SEC is gunning for its eighth straight championship to close out the much-maligned system’s era. The only time an SEC team lost the national championship was when they played another SEC team for the championship – 2011’s Alabama-LSU rematch. The SEC has played in nine BCS Championship games, and all nine have come away winners. It’s only fitting that Tennessee beat FSU in the first-ever BCS Championship in the 1998 season and the SEC will be playing the Noles again to close out the BCS era. If history is any indicator, Auburn will beat FSU in Pasadena. Specifically, the state of Alabama will be going for a crazy five straight national championships between Auburn and Alabama. That is incredible.

Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

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  • But 5 reasons could easily be given for an FSU win as well. 1) The number 1 player in college Football (however arguably, I would have voted for Andre Williams). 2) 17 – The greatest number of points allowed by the FSU defense against teams that don’t contain Andre Williams. (Auburn only held 3 opponents under 17 – Ark St., W Carolina and Florida Atlantic) 3) 689-139 – the point variant between FSU and their opponents on the season (compared to 522-312 for Auburn). 4) 53 points per game, 2nd only to Baylor, who averages a fraction of a point higher at 53.3 (compared to Auburn’s 40.2) If you run on this alone, given the current over-under of 65.5 and knowing that Auburn averages only 75 percent of the points FSU covers, a roughly estimated final score would be in the ballpark of 41-24 FSU. 5) 3 – 800+ Yard Receivers and 3 – 500+ yard Rushers. The offensive attack is not only balanced, but overloaded with talent.
    I know the Alabama logo next to this post is going to scream Auburn-hater and the stats will somehow be overshadowed, but this Florida State team is just that good. I would love to see the BCS go out with continued SEC dominance, but I just don’t see it happening this year.

    • Reminds me much of the 2006 NC between Florida and Ohio State. No doubt FSU passes the eye test, and they have been more dominant than any other team in the country. But they have beaten two (Clemson and Duke) currently ranked teams, while Auburn has beaten four (Alabama, Georgia, Texas A&M and Missouri). I think FSU enters as the biggest unknown despite being so dominant.

      • Fair enough. The Miami collapse at season’s end really hurt FSU’s SOS, but with their star RB and QBs both out, it was inevitable. I think the Clemson game really points to the overwhelming strength of the FSU defense, Clemson averaging 40.2 PPG and were held to 14. While Auburn did successfully beat all four still ranked teams, they didn’t exactly keep them from lighting the scoreboard up pretty heavily. If Auburn is to win this game, it’s going to depend almost entirely on how much pressure Dee Ford can keep on Winston. I don’t see the 100+ point total of the SEC Championship, but there will be plenty of fireworks in Pasadena.

      • You can’t compare FSU to the Buckeyes… The biggest difference is that FSU currently has and always have been loaded with freakish NFL talent consisting of speed, size, and athleticism, even in these 13 years of mediocrity, which a lack of a good quarterback and several key injuries over the years is the blame for that. Why do you think NFL scouts have been drooling over there players since the 80’s? This can be said for all 3 of the traditional Florida powerhouses (Miami, UF, and FSU). The only reason that Miami is down is because of all the sanctions, but they will rise again in the very near future now that the sanctions have been lifted (which worries me).. Florida will raise again once they get rid of Will Muschamp, unless they hire another dud… I knew that Florida would destroy OSU in the 2006 NC because OSU didn’t match up against the Gators, just like Auburn doesn’t match up with FSU, nor does the SEC’s BAMA for that matter; which Nick Saban himself would agree with that statement (sense he himself called FSU the most complete football team in the country). Don’t forget that despite being in a weak conference, FSU does get plethora of top recruits from, “oh let me think” FLORIDA, Georgia, Alabama, Texas, etc… Ohio state can’t boast this, neither can Oregon. The state of Florida has produced 10 national championship teams (only including AP and BCS) in the modern era, and has had a team play in 17 national championship games from 1983 to 2014 (more than half), compliments to the talent level of athletes out of the state of Florida, which btw every team in the country especially SEC teams tries to dip their hands into our talent pool. The late great Bear Bryant himself commented on the talent of Florida athletes and how good they will be if they ever get someone that can coach. Therefore, the SEC’s dominance is primarily accredited to the premier programs ability to recruit in the state of Florida, as well as the other surrounding talented states throughout the southeast (which is something that FSU has been doing since the arrival of Bobby Bowen in the 70’s). The only explanation for the Seminoles victory that the ESPN analysis and their brainwashed viewers who listen to and repeat whatever they say, is that FSU is built like a SEC team… BullS*!T! If anything, the SEC saw what Miami, FSU, and Florida was doing, and built there programs to match what they did. I’ll pick the great defenses of Micky Andrews in the glory days over any Nick Saben/Jeremy Pruitt defense any day. However, I do have to admit, I am very grateful to have Pruitt, and would take him over that clown Stoops any day. :-) it’s going to be a good game… Auburn will be hyped and ready to play, which is the only reason that they could possibly loose by no less than 14…

        • BTW, even in our 13 years mediocrity (which is only really mediocre to our spoiled and high FSU standards) we still currently hold the longest streak of being bowl eligible dating back to 1982, with an impressive 22-7-1 bowl record. 2006 and 2009’s 7-6 records really hurt. However, this was the lowest that the program has been since 1981. During the lost decade, we had 8, 9, 10, and 12 win season with the exception of 06 and 09. I include last years 12 win season as apart of the lost decade because any time FSU loses more than 1 game in a season, it’s considered a bad season… Point being, we’re not some program that needed to be rebuilt from the ground up after having devastating seasons like Auburn or Mizzu, nor are we anything like the Norte Dame team that the whole country knew did not belong in the NC Game, and could have probably lost to Stanford in overtime, if it had not been for the controversial call no touchdown call…

        • Florida also lost to Georgia Southern the week before…….

        • Wes10jones: Florida’s lost to Georgia Southern actually makes the Southeastern Conference look bad because of the fact that Florida; despite being injury plagued, have competed well against every school in the SEC with the exception of Mizzu. Again, we have handed Florida their worst lost this season by point margin. This fact by no means will determine the outcome of the FSU Auburn game, but looking at how Duke was handing it to TA&M last night (despite barely loosing), helps prove what I’ve been saying about about Auburn being on par with teams like Clemson and Duke, being that Clemson and Duke had similar outcomes to Auburn when faced against Georgia and A&M. Those teams were dismantled by FSU because of the fact that FSU is a much better football program that is rich in NFL talent, more so than any SEC School this year with the exception of BAMA. I’ve always agreed that the SEC was the best overall conference in College football. However, the SEC’s success came after the teams began to mirror what the 3 Big Florida schools were doing in the 80’s and 90’s. The Gators were dominating the SEC in the 90’s, while under Steve Spurrier, and Bobby Bowden’s Noles Dominated 14 years series against the Gators 8-5-1 (the Gators last victory came when the Seminoles began their downfall). Point being, the ACC was weak in the 90’s, but FSU still fared very well by having an over all winning record against SEC opponents, and won 2 national championships while in a weak conference. If we had not lost our starting QB Weinke against Tennesse in the first ever BCS championship, and Marvin (Snoop) Minnus against OU; we could have 3 or 4 National Championships. What FSU accomplished in our 14 year glorious run was a result of having mere talent, not being in the overall best conference. To add modern statistics, despite being in the weak ACC, FSU is 4-1 vs the SEC under Jimbo, 3 of which were against the Gators. We’re not Duke, Clemson, or the ACC; which by the way, the ACC did a good overall job of competing in the games vs SEc opponents this year with very close losses and a 3 victories… We’re FSU!!! It will be a good game, but FSU will beat Auburn…

        • That was one hell of a game!!! I have nothing bad to say about Auburn after their performance last night… As I expected, Auburn’s defense was the surprise of the game. I knew that FSU wasn’t going to blow Auburn out, but was way off by saying that we would win by double score. I thought that Jimbo was past making idiot play calls, and should have run the ball more to open up the pass in the first half. Also, I did not expect Jeremy Pruitt’s defensive game plan to be so sold out on stopping the run that we would have so many blown coverages (Man I miss the Mickey Andrews defenses). Nevertheless, the adjustments were make, and the Noles pulled it off. Hats off to Gus Malzahn and his Auburn Tigers for playing a well coached and competitive game…

      • Jon Cooper, I have to agree with you though. This also reminds me of the 2006 NC between Florida and Ohio State. However, my view is different than yours… You think that FSU will be exposed like OSU was by Florida since FSU is not in the SEC. I on the other hand, I believe that FSU will expose the SEC bandwagon like Florida exposed the OSU bandwagon. I told everybody that Florida would destroy OSU during a time that everyone was riding OSU’s bandwagon because Florida was a better program with better talent in all phases of the game. In fact, I found it insulting how the majority of the country including the SEC fans counted Florida out of the game to began with. Obviously, I feel the same about how every is talking about how Auburn going to destroy FSU because of a weak schedule, and how they will put of 500 rushing yards on our D. lol! Auburn has faced some pretty decent defenses this year (Bama’s D is not has good has they have been), not faced a D that is as fast, physical, nor athletic as FSU. We can tackle in open space, and our speed prevents teams from running outside, which is what Auburn does. Auburn will get a few good runs, but will not have the successes that they have had against Bama, or Mizzu.. This may sound crazy, but Auburn’s D will be the surprise of the game. I’ve watched Auburn, and their D is better than what people think. They play a bend but don’t break D, in which the only touchdowns scored are on big plays. However, if had not elected to employ mass substitutions consisting of our 2nd and 3rd stringed players; we would clearly be statistically the #1 defense in the country, and would have given up fewer points. The majority of the points that scored against our D occurred while none of our starters were on the field. The same can be said about our offense.. However, despite these facts we still dominated every opponent. Our only semi close game came against Boston College, which was prior to the defense being fully adjusted to Pruitt’s scheme, along with the fact that we were w/o 2 of our key starters. Just like the Auburn fans boast about their team improvements on offense, we’ve significantly improved on defense after Pruitt put players in the right positions, in which we have been lights out every since. Prior to the adjustments Pittsburgh, Boston College, and Bethune Cookman ran the ball well against our D. However, no one has since, and we have faced another very talented back (Duke Johnson) since, and well, you know what happened to him when they played us… Again, Auburn will have some success, but not enough to pull of the upset. I think we’ll win by double digits, 10 or 14, but the will be closer than what the game actually shows. FSU dominates!!!

    • FSU has too many unknowns. Nobody knows how they will stack up against a solid team. They haven’t played one all season. And don’t use Miami of Clemson as an example. They both suck. Duke beat Miami for cryin’ out loud…

      • How can you not use Clemson as an example? Just because Dabo can’t figure out how to beat Steve Spurrier isn’t a measure of whether Clemson is good. They average over 40 PPG. Their defense has only given up more than two touchdowns a handful of times, and they were the only team this season that managed to really slow down BC’s Heisman candidate Andre Williams. On paper, Clemson and Auburn are really quite comparable.

        • Game isn’t played on paper. And an ACC schedule isn’t even close to being the same as an SEC schedule. Go look at FSU’s schedule and you’ll understand why they put up the numbers they did. Any team with athletes would put up the same numbers. Like Jon said, it’s a lot like florida vs ohio state. Everyone thought Florida was going to get blown out, including myself. Just goes to show the difference in the conferences

        • Clemson couldn’t score against South Carolina’s defense either and I think this is the worst defense south carolina has had in 3 years. Clemson wonders why they lose to south carolina every year and ultimately it comes down to level of competition. SC is way above clemsons opponents while clemson is just another game for SC in talent level, often times an easier opponent. The same effect will occur with FSU. For example The if the Broncos played the jaguars every game of the season then came in at the end and played the Seahawks who had been playing the likes of the 49ers all season one team is going to be way more prepared than the other. FSU may be the better team but theyre not ready for Auburn in my opinion, not by a long shot.

        • Wes10jones: Auburn has played against like opponents: Washington State W 31-24, FAU W 45-10, W Carolina W 62-3, Tennessee W 55-23, Arkansas W 35-17, and Arkansas State W 38-9. Auburn’s only win that can compare to what Florida State has accomplished against like opponents as well as ranked opponents is the 62-3 win over W. Carolina (and I bet that your starters played the majority if the not entirety of these games). We’ve put up impressive numbers, in spite of our entire first string offense and defensive players being taken off the field after a couple of series in the 3rd quarter. Hell, yall barely beat garbage Washington State (please no excuses about Marshall not knowing the offense because the same can be said about FSU’s D under Pruitt’s new scheme during the BC game, in which we also had 2 starters out), and you barely beat A&M and Georgia. Neither TA&M or Georgia should be ranked as a 4 loss teams. A&M has absolutely no defense (and almost lost to duke), and Georgia was beaten by Clemson while healthy. In fact, after seeing yall play against Georgia, I would suggest that Auburn is on Clemson’s level at best (btw Clemson has beaten yall in recent years)…

      • It’s funny how Most SEC/Auburn fans try to down play FSU’s win over Clemson, but will try to include Georgia as a valid win. Yeah, Clemson lost to South Carolina, but didn’t they beat a Georgia team at full strength w/o needing a miracle tipped pass? Also, didn’t Miami beat a Florida Gator team, which was also at full strength at the time? Couldn’t you use the same excuses that the SEC uses for Georgia and Florida’s lack of success due to injuries for the Miami Hurricanes, which lost there best running back (against FSU), and had a quarterback that was playing with an injury? Even though Florida lost a lot of games this year, did FSU not dominate and expose the Gators better than any other SEC team has this year, despite this being their biggest rivalry game? With the exception of the Mizzu game, all of Florida’s game were fairly close, and despite the injuries Florida still boast one of the best defenses in the SEC. With that being said, FSU handed them there worst lost this season, which can be said for 12 out of 13 of our opponents. Sure, other teams MIGHT have gone undefeated with our schedule, however, NO one, not even BAMA would have dominated like we have.

  • I think fsu is no better than Missouri they played a very week schedule and we had big games aginst the small teams to but im looking forward to a great game we either bring our a game or we get talk about the one that got away.

  • Sounds like CaptOblivious is still butt hurt about the Auburn game. This is big boy SEC football. I can’t see into the future and tell you the outcome of the game but you can throw all them stats away. FSU looks good and indeed they are against lesser teams . Hell I’m 50 years old and I could score on some of the teams they played. Moral to the story … don’t count on stats or hype( Just ask Ole Miss ).

  • So 3 of the 5 reasons mean absolutely nothing

  • I think Auburn’s scheme will definitely lead to some points, but I think most “SEC” fans are getting either a bit arrogant or ignorant regarding FSU and what they have accomplished this season. I hope the Noles silence the critics.

  • My best guess about what will happen in this game that really only the players and coaches will decide is this: Missouri scored more on Auburn than FSU will score. The Big 10 officials will call a lot of holding early on Auburn. Auburn will adjust but they will score less points. FSU can be held to less than 30 by Auburn. When it’s all over Missouri/Alabama/Georgia vs Auburn will look more like the national championship game than FSU. No disrespect to FSU they had a great season, it’s just that Auburn, and Missouri deserved more credit all year long…. and Alabama and Georgia went to the wire with Auburn. Strength of schedule means more every year than the politics of promoting the Notre Dames, Oregons, and Oklahomas to the big games they don’t belong in. The Oklahoma vs Alabama game will be closer than it should be this year because Oklahoma has so much to lose.

    • ONLY AWAY game Won starting Nov 12, 2006 who made AP Poll Top 25 that season was Georgie tek who would’ve had to VACATE a win anyway in a season we lost to 7-6 vols in blow-out 19-45 and same year we lost to 7-6 Kentucky just prior to this Georgie tek game which would’ve been VACATED anyway.

      7 years a month and 2 weeks Mark Richt has gone without an away win against a team who made the AP Poll Top 25 that season except that Georgie tek game which would’ve been VACATED had Georgie tek won.

      http://www.cfbtrivia.com/cfbt_detail.php?steam=Georgia&teamname=Georgia&fry=2001&thy=2013&yrk=on&app=on&cres=3&jpl=on

      Mark Richt does well in away games ?

      Huh ?

      Not in 7 years, 2 weeks and a day – except once vs team who made AP Poll Top 25.

      What I do know about the top 3 teams, is that were FSU in The SEC, FSU would not be undefeated. Were FSU not undefeated, it would be Auburn vs Alabama, as it should be. # 63 Strength of Schedule for FSU. For that, they, and not Alabama are playing Auburn.

      It’s so hard sitting on the outside, watching every year of the BCS. Something has happened to Mark Richt the 2nd half of his career here. I have asked and no one has an answer as to why Mark Richt won so many games against teams who made the AP Poll Top 25 his 1st seven years here, and now for the current 6-year period and next year 2nd half of his career here, he can’t beat his way out of a wet paper bag against teams who make the AP Poll Top 25 for that season he plays them.

      GA (16-13) 55 % Won 2001-2007 inclusive 7 seasons vs AP Poll Top 25
      GA (07-20) 25 % Won 2008-2013 inclusive 6 seasons vs AP Poll Top 25

  • Five reasons you’re wrong …FSU won, FSU #1, FSU national champs, FSU beat Auburn and FSU is the best team in college football. THE END…good night everyone…