College Football BCS Championship Preview: #2 Auburn Tigers vs #1 Florida State Seminoles

2014 Vizio BCS Nati0nal Championship Game
#2 Auburn Tigers vs #1 Florida State Seminoles

Rose Bowl Stadium – Pasadena, California
Monday, January 6, 2014, 8:30 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Florida State -9 1/2
Current Line: Florida State -9
Opening Total: 65
Current Total: 67
Opening Money Line: Florida State -320 / Auburn +265
Current Money Line: Florida State -310 / Auburn +255

Florida State is a 9 point favorite against Auburn in the BCS Championship game Monday in Pasadena.
Florida State is a 9 point favorite against Auburn in the BCS Championship game Monday in Pasadena.

The SEC has won the last seven BCS National Championships and a team from Alabama has won the last four. The 12-1 Auburn Tigers look to continue both of those trends and they take on the 13-0 Florida State Seminoles in the last BCS National Championship game before the four team playoff begins next season. Auburn won the SEC West Championship with a 7-1 record, but it took miracle last second  wins against Georgia and Alabama to get there. Auburn then demolished Missouri 59-42 in the SEC Championship game to secure their spot in the championship game. Florida State is the nation’s only undefeated team. The Seminoles won the ACC Atlantic with and 8-0 record. FSU crushed Duke 45-7 in the ACC Championship game.

Auburn leads the series 13-4-1 against Florida State but they haven’t played since 1990. The Tigers won that game 20-17 at Auburn. Florida State won the only meeting in a bowl game winning 13-7 in the 1989 Sugar Bowl.

Auburn is 22-13-2 all-time in bowl games. The Tigers missed out on a bowl last year but have won 5 straight bowl games and 8 of the last 9. Auburn beat Virginia 43-24 in their last bowl game in the 2011 Chick-fil-A Bowl. The Tigers are looking for their third national title after winning in 1957 and 2010. Auburn beat Oregon 22-19 in the 2011 BCS Championship game in Glendale, Arizona. The Tigers have never played a bowl game in the Rose Bowl.

Florida State is 26-14-2 all-time in bowl games. The Seminoles are playing in their 32nd straight bowl game, 3 short of the all-time record of 35 by Nebraska. Florida State has won 5 straight bowl games including 31-10 over Northern Illinois in the Orange Bowl last season. Florida State is looking for their third national title as well after winning in 1993 and 1999. The Seminoles haven’t played in a BCS title game since they lost to Oklahoma 13-2 in the 2000 Orange Bowl. Florida State also hasn’t played a bowl game in Pasadena before.

The only loss for Auburn came at LSU 35-21. Auburn has won 9 straight games since that loss. The Tigers have home wins over Washington State 31-24, Arkansas State 38-9, Mississippi State 24-20, Ole Miss 30-22, Western Carolina 62-3, Florida Atlantic 45-10, Georgia 43-38, and Alabama 34-28, along with road wins at Texas A&M 45-41 Arkansas 35-17 and Tennessee 55-23. Auburn is 11-2 ATS and the total is 8-5 this season. The Tigers were 2 point underdogs against Missouri in the SEC Championship game in Atlanta and the total was 59.5.

Auburn is outscoring teams 40-24 this season. The Tigers are #8 in scoring and #38 in points allowed nationally out of 125 FBS teams. Auburn is averaging 505.3 total yards including 169.6 passing and 335.7 rushing yards. The Tigers are #1 in rushing, #11 in total offense, and #109 in passing out of 125 FBS teams. On defense, Auburn is allowing 423.5 yards per game including 259.3 passing and 164.2 rushing yards. Auburn is #102 in pass defense and #89 in total defense out of 125 teams.  The Tigers are even in turnovers with 18 takeaways. Auburn is averaging 41 penalty yards per game and opponents are averaging 42. The Tigers are 85/184 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 76/215. Auburn has forced 28 sacks and allowed 16 this season. The Tigers are 51/57 scoring in the red zone with 42 touchdowns and opponents are 34/48 with 23 touchdowns. Auburn has four special teams and two defensive touchdowns, and has allowed one defensive touchdown.

Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall has completed 60.4% of his passes for 1,759 yards with 12 touchdowns and 5 touchdowns, along with 156 carries for 1,023 yards and 11 touchdowns. Back-up Jeremy Johnson has taken a few snaps. Johnson has completed 70.7% of his passes for 422 yards with 6 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, along with 47 rushing yards.

Running back Tre Mason has 283 carries for 1,621 yards and 22 touchdowns, along with 11 catches for 121 yards. Mason also has a kick return for a touchdown and was a Heisman finalist.Corey Grant has 65 carries, 650 yards and 6 touchdowns, along with 4 catches. He also has a kick return for a touchdown.  Cameron Artis-Payne has 90 carries for 609 yards and 6 touchdowns, plus a catch.

Receiver Sammie Coates has 38 catches, 841 yards and 7 touchdowns.  Ricardo Louis has 26 catches for 297 yards and 2 touchdowns. he had the game winning touchdown catch against Georgia on a 76 yard Hail Mary catch. Quan Bray has 20 catches, 191 yards and 3 touchdowns. Marcus Davis has 22 catches for 191 yards and a touchdown. C.J. Uzomah has 9 catches for 146 yards and 3 touchdowns. Chris Davis has a punt return for a touchdown, and the game winning touchdown against Alabama on a 109 yard return of a missed field goal on the last play of the game. Three defensive players are out for the season.

Florida State is coached by Jimbo Fisher. The Seminoles have home wins over Nevada 62-7, Bethune-Cookman 54-6, Maryland 63-0, NC State 49-17, Miami 41-14, Syracuse 59-3, and Idaho 80-14. Florida State has road wins over Pitt     41-13, Boston College 48-34, Clemson 51-14, Wake Forest 59-3, and  Florida 37-7. Florida State is 11-2 ATS and the total is 10-3 this season. The Seminoles were 30 point favorites against Duke in the ACC Championship game in Charlotte and the total was 66.

Florida State is outscoring teams 53-11 this season. The Seminoles are #1 in scoring nationally and #1 in points allowed. FSU averages 529.4 yards per game including 322 passing and 207.4 rushing yards per game. The Seminoles are #5 in total offense, #14 in passing, and #23 in rushing nationally. On defense, Florida State is allowing 268.5 total yards including 152 passing and 116.5 rushing yards. The Seminoles are #3 in total defense, #1 in passing and #12 in rushing. FSU is +17 in turnovers with 34 takeaways. The Seminoles average 49 penalty yards per game and opponents average 47. Florida State is 82/148 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 69/216. FSU has forced 33 sacks and allowed 29 this season. The Seminoles are 67/69 scoring in the red zone with 55 touchdowns and opponents are 20/26 with 14 touchdowns. FSU has 8 defensive touchdowns and a kick return for a touchdown.

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston won the Heisman, Davey O’Brien, and Maxwell Awards. He was the subject of a sexual battery investigation, but was cleared by Florida state attorneys. Winston, a redshirt freshman, has completed 67.9% of his passes for 3,820 yards with 38 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, along with 77 carries for 193 yards and 4 touchdowns. Back-up Jacob Coker has thrown for 250 yards and an interception, but has a rushing touchdown. Sean Maguire has 116 passing yards along with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.

Running back Devonta Freeman has 162 carries for 943 yards and 13 touchdowns, plus 19 catches for 257 yards and a touchdown. Karlos Williams has 86 carries for 705 yards and 11 touchdowns, and 7 catches for 63 yards. James Wilder, Jr. has 78 carries for 542 yards and 8 touchdowns, plus 3 catches. Ryan Green has 32 carries for 163 yards and a touchdown, plus a receiving touchdown. Lavonte Whitfield has 2 rushing touchdowns Running back Mario Pender is ineligible.

Receiver Rashad Greene has 67 catches for 981 yards with 9 touchdowns. Kenny Shaw has 52 catches for 929 yards and 6 touchdowns. Kelvin Benjamin has 50 catches for 957 yards and 14 touchdowns. Nick O’Leary has 33 catches for 557 yards and 7 touchdowns. Christian Green has 13 catches for 157 yards. Chad Abram has 2 touchdown catches. Four receivers and two tight ends are out for the season.Three defensive players and two offensive linemen are also out for the season.

Florida State is 8-0-1 ATS in bowl games, 6-0 after a straight up win, after allowing less than 100 rushing yards, after a straight up win of more than 20 points, and after allowing less than 20 points, 5-0 after scoring 40 points or more, after a cover, against teams with winning records, in non-conference games, and after passing foe 280 yards or more, 4-0 in January, and after allowing 275 yards or less, 11-1 on grass, 12-2 overall, 5-1 after rushing for 200 yards or more, 12-3-1 in neutral site games, and 4-1 against SEC teams.

Auburn is 9-0 ATS after a cover, 8-0 on grass, 7-0 against teams with winning records, 5-0 after scoring more than 40 points, after allowing more than 200 rushing yards, after gaining more than 450 total yards, after allowing more than 450 total yards and after allowing more than 280 passing yards, 4-0 after passing for 170 yards or less, 11-1 overall, 10-1 after a straight up win, 5-1 in non-conference games, 4-1 in bowl games, after allowing more than 40 points, and in neutral site games, 39-19-1 after rushing for more than 200 yards, and 2-7 against SEC teams.

Both of these teams have explosive offenses. The difference is Auburn struggles on defense, and Florida State has an elite defense. Auburn rushed for over 500 yards against Missouri but also gave up almost 600 total yards and 42 points.  It has already been an incredible season for Auburn after a 3 win season last year. The underdog has won all four BCS games straight up so far. I think that trend ends as Florida State wins by double digits.

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