The 2014 BCS National Championship Game is set to get underway on Monday night at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. The No.1 Florida State Seminoles will take on the No.2 Auburn Tigers in a battle of the nation’s two best teams.
While Florida State and Auburn have proven to be the class of college football this season, the Seminoles have separated themselves from the pack. Auburn only lost one game in 2013, while Florida State finished perfect at 13-0. Even though the Tigers have played very well, they might not stand much of a chance in the title game.
The Seminoles are heavy favorites, giving Auburn 10 points at most Las Vegas casinos. There are a few reasons to believe Florida State will easily win the contest.
Florida State will have the best player on the field, and it won’t even be close. The quarterback was dominant in just about every game this season, throwing for 3,820 yards, 38 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He tossed at least three touchdowns in nine games, and had just one game in which he didn't throw multiple touchdowns.
Winston is also capable beating teams on the ground. Against Boston College, the Heisman winner rushed for 67 yards on 14 carries.
Nick Marshall has played well for Auburn, especially later in the season. However, if Winston plays like many expect, Marshall will have a long night ahead of him.
Auburn Close Calls
The Tigers are certainly deserving of playing for the national title. They won the most difficult conference in college football, and were defeated just once. However, the team could easily have three or four losses on their schedule. The Tigers were fortunate to beat Alabama, who missed several field goals and had one returned for a touchdown to end the game. Auburn also needed a late, and improbable, 73-yard touchdown pass to defeat Georgia in the previous game. The Tigers have been the beneficiaries of a lot of good luck, but they will need a lot to go their way against an opponent that rarely makes mistakes.
Florida State hasn’t experienced the close calls that Auburn has. All of their wins have been convincing. Their closest contest was a 14-point victory against Boston College. Other than that, all of their wins have come by at least four scores. The Seminoles have faced four teams who were ranked at the time of their matchup, and won by an average of 41 points. There’s not much reason to believe why Monday would be any different.
If the Tigers are going to have any chance of pulling off the upset, they’re going to need a big game on their ground. With a quarterback that has rushed for over 1,000 yards, and a running back that has registered over 1,600 yards this season, Auburn will look to utilize what’s worked for them all season. Tre Mason played particularly well down the stretch, averaging 194 yards in the last three games.
While the Tigers rely on the running game, the Seminoles boast one of the best run defenses in the league. They rank 14th nationally in rushing yards allowed, and first in points allowed. Marshall has proven that he can make some big throws when he needs to, but if the Seminoles shut down the Tigers ground game, they’ll have a very difficult time of moving the ball.