BCS Margin: Oh So Close
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After so many seasons of mastery in the BCS championship game, it's a bit of a shock to see the SEC's champion as a nine-point underdog tonight.
That's where Bovada has it. And after they hit the odds on Texas' new coach being Charlie Strong before anyone else did, it's hard to doubt them.
As seen in their data tool on our Home page, they've also set the total at an intriguing 69 points. There's a wealth of information available in the tool, a portion of which is this:
From this vantage point, there doesn't seem to be much there to indicate a score differential of nine points.
That spread seems to be the extreme elsewhere in cyberspace, too. CBS Sports, for example, polled its reporters for predictions, and only one believed the final tally would exceed nine points. Bruce Feldman is the star reporter at CBS, and his eye test leads him to believe that Auburn's tougher schedule and "underrated" offensive line will be the difference in a Tiger upset.
The Los Angeles Times, though, has four of its six writers calling for Florida State to cover. The most convincing argument for that to happen is Michael Felder's assertion that the Seminoles will sell out to stop Auburn's running game, and Tiger QB Nick Marshall won't be able to compensate through the air.
The Sporting News canvassed Las Vegas, and 13 of 21 sources there are expecting Florida State to cover.
Jeff Sagarin boils a potpourri of season stats down to a rating figure. He's got the Seminoles at 104.95 and the Tigers at 90.32. The difference is 14.63, which by his system has that being Florida State's margin of victory.
One observation that just can't be shaken is Auburn's experience against elite passers. The top three in its schedule were, in order of appearance, Connor Halliday of Washington State, Aaron Murray of Georgia, and AJ McCarron of Alabama. Each of those teams -- yes, that includes Mike Leach's Cougars -- could have and probably should have beaten the Tigers on the day. But the point of interest is those were all close games.
Auburn just finds a way to absorb great performances and still keep it close. They'll do it again tonight. At the least.
Prediction: Auburn +9
Result ... Florida State 34 Auburn 31 Tigers cover