Plant The Spear: National Championship Edition
Breakdown: The wait is over. No, I'm not talking about the near month layoff leading up to tonight's BCS National Championship Game between #1 Florida State and #2 Auburn, I'm speaking of a wait far greater than a mere 29 days. Try 5,116 - the number of days it has been since January 4, 2000 - when the Bobby Bowden-led Seminoles last hoisted the crystal (thanks to the dazzling one-man show put on by the great Peter Warrick) and could proudly call themselves National Champions. Hard to believe that it's been that long, but Seminole fans remember a time when a game like tonight's was merely an annual event. Tonight may mark the beginning of yet another great Seminole dynasty, but first thing's first. Beat Auburn.
What's On the Line: Immortality. And this.....
What Auburn's Working With:
What Worries Me: All the talk for the last month has been about the Auburn rushing attack, which ended the season absolutely obliterating everything in its path. Had this game been played a week after the conference title games, Auburn most likely would have taken one from the Noles. Auburn was ghost pepper hot, and that's an understatement. One week after the tipped pass-Hail Mary craziness to beat Georgia, the Tigers took out their arch-nemesis, the #1 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide on a "kick-six." We've all seen the play about a million times, one of the greatest - if not the greatest - plays in college football history, so I won't litter the page with that insanity ("Eliminate the clutter," as Jimbo likes to say). I can think of three instance this season (Boston College, Miami, Duke in the ACC title game) where the Noles came out a little more flat than usual. Of course, they were able to regroup in those games and claim victories in blowout fashion. Starting slow against a physical team like Auburn in the national title game, though? Probably not a good idea.
Watch Out For: Everyone and their mother is talking about Auburn RB Tre Mason going up against the FSU defense. Yes, the kid is a baller, but I always feel the need to be different, so I'm rolling with Auburn QB Nick Marshall. Marshall is the point man for Gus Malzahn's tricky offense, and as Marshall goes, so goes the Auburn attack. Most, if not all of the plays are called from Malzahn himself on the sideline, and while Marshall isn't doing much defensive reading at the line of scrimmage, he is still deadly once the ball is snapped. No one in America runs this type of offense better than Auburn, and having a QB that can run a 4.4 at the helm, you can see why there would be cause for concern here. If Marshall has a big game and can make it past the first wave of Seminole defenders consistently without turning the ball over, it could be a long night for FSU.
What I'd Like To See: The Noles need to come out and punch Auburn right in the
dick face.Set the tone early, be physical and take no prisoners. Remember the Clemson game earlier this season? Just like that, but on a grander stage. When Auburn hangs around late in games, bad things happen to teams not named Auburn. FSU needs to come out swinging and put this thing away early, just like we've seen time and again this season. With the type of run-heavy offense Auburn runs, it will be nearly impossible for the Tigers to play catch up. Get Auburn out of their comfort zone and then go in for the kill. I do expect both teams to be a little tight after having a month off, so the Noles will need to impose their will early and often against a team from the much mightier SEC.
Oh yeah, then there's that. This SEC crap has to stop. I'm pretty sure the entire nation outside of SEC-land is begging for someone, anyone, to put an end to their precious BCS title streak. I read a great article that stated that most of the nation (maybe even the world) has something called "SEC Fatigue." You know it's getting bad when little kids in Uganda hate you. Remember this, before all of this "SEC defense, built like an SEC team" talk started, there was Florida State and Miami. If anything, the SEC was chasing those two elite programs in the 80's and 90's, trying to replicate their formula for success and build a champion. They did, and it worked to the tune of seven straight BCS title and its own TV network. Florida State isn't built like an SEC team, they're built like a Florida State team. Just like the old days. Auburn will find out what that means soon enough.
It Kind Of Means This....
Why FSU Will Win: FSU is the most talented, most balanced team in the country. You can buy into this Auburn "Team of Destiny" stuff if you want, but FSU is a team of preparation, discipline and focus. I'll take that over destiny any day of the week. I know, the Noles didn't play that tough of a schedule this season, but every time they took the field, they completely decimated everyone in their path. Each game was approached the same as the last, the "faceless opponent" if you will. FSU will by far be the most talented and precise offense Auburn has faced all year. Don't respect them because they play in the ACC? That's fine, make that mistake and see where it gets you. We all know that Heisman QB Jameis Winston is unlike anything the game has seen in quite some time, maybe ever. The team feeds off of his energy and confidence, his swag if you will. He thrives off of these big stages, relishes the opportunity to prove that he can and will lead his team to victory, to a national championship. Today just so happens to be his 20th birthday, perhaps a perfect ending to a perfect season. If Florida State plays Florida State football, the best Auburn can do is try. Dynasty 2.0 begins tonight in Pasadena.
Prediction: FSU 48 Auburn 27
Vegas: FSU -9 / Over-Under: 68
Weather: 57* at 8:30 Kickoff (Pasadena, CA) - Clear Skies
Tailgate Food Of The Week: (Championship Boss Edition)