BCS Title Tilt: Chalk Likes Noles; Tigers Live in the Moment
The BCS era will finally -- and thankfully -- end on Monday when upstart Auburn meets Florida State for the national championship at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
Once Oregon lost to Stanford in November, the Seminoles were a lock to play in the title game, but Auburn took a different path with two unbelievable victories late in the season over Georgia and Alabama to get their invitation.
Florida State is a strong favorite, as many feel Auburn has run out of miracles and the Seminoles are due to win its first championship since 1999. The Noles are led by Heisman Trophy winner Jameis WInston and have a stellar defense that may have as many as nine starters playing in the NFL someday. Auburn has Nick Marshall as their quarterback, who runs the ball much more than throwing it. Tre Mason is their star running back, and he's coming off a 303-yard performance against Missouri in the SEC championship game.
What could set these teams apart? The schedules they played.
As relatively as these things go in the South, Auburn played 'everybody' and wound up 12-1, with their only loss coming against LSU. The Tigers played six ranked teams, including four in the top seven when they played. Florida State beat four ranked teams, but do Maryland and Duke really count? They did beat Miami when Miami was either relatively good or the pollsters were more shallow than usual, and of course, they beat Clemson, which everyone does in a big game.
So what does Florida State do in the fourth quarter of a 24-21 game? They turn it up to beat a pesky Boston College club by 14 points, which was the closest anyone came to the Noles at the final gun.
Auburn has played tougher teams all year and has found ways to win, as evidenced by its 6-0 record in one-score games. If it's a close game in the fourth quarter, watch out for the Tigers. They find ways to pull out victories that haven't even been conceived yet.
Bovada's odds say they may need to do just that. The Seminoles are 9-point favorites.