(note: this is actually a serious preview)
The BCS National Championship: Hibernation Is Upon Us
Florida State vs Auburn, 1/6, 8:30pm, ESPN.
Quick Summary: This is it, folks. I can't really tell what's happening in the world when Auburn doesn't win a game in the ess ee see and then turns around and posts 11 wins, including miracle wins over Georgia and Alabama. Miracle wins, you say?
Yeah, that one was pretty good, eh? But wait, there's more. Eat your heart out, Verne:
This year has been a pretty good one for crazy games. I might say the BCS bowls have been the best in at least a decade. Clemson did the work of angels, we witnessed the Bortlesing, the Rose Bowl was fantastic, and even Alabama lost in wonderful fashion. When you talk about incredible finishes, we've had a good week of football - BCS bowls and the NFL have been fantastic. Let's hope tonight's game will be similar.
On one side, we have Florida State, a program that improved its swagger infinity percent over last year. These kids are good, they are fast, they hit hard, and they know it. It's really fun to watch. QB Jameis Winston was not charged with a fairly awful crime, which is good. He also won the Heisman and can really throw the ball. They've got four tailbacks who can gouge you and some very athletic defenders. The offense has been weirdly quiet at times (Duke?) but overall their placekicker has outscored several D-1 teams this year, as they're averaging a metric ton of points per game. Idaho? 80. But consider this: 51-14 over a third-ranked Clemson team that just beat Ohio State in a BCS bowl and can score, 41-14 over a then-top 10 Miami team, 37-7 over in-state rival Florida, who despite all their issues still had a good defense. Their closest game was a road test against a feisty BC team and it still wasn't that close - a two-TD margin belied the final score. The next closest margin of victory? 28 points in the first game of the season - on the road at Pittsburgh.
This is a very, very good Florida State team. A strong showing tonight puts them in contention to be one of the most dominant teams of the past decade, if not of the entire BCS era. Ordinarily, teams that blow competition out by that much concern me in title games, but FSU's beaten -nay, shellacked- teams that objectively are good. The spotlight has been on them all year and they are the only team in the country that has answered the bell twelve times in a row. I would be very confident taking them, except for one plucky outfit better known as the
Tigers of Auburn. I have no idea what to make of this team. They are good. They have a quarterback, Nick Marshall, who has had an OK season but is not the focal point of the offense, nor should he be, because hoo boy - they can run the ball - to the tune of 46 carries for 304 yards and four scores for Tre Mason against a good Missouri defensive unit in the SEC championship game. So, I don't know. Auburn definitely has the team of destiny thing going for it, but if I'm Jimbo Fisher, I sell the hell out against the run and make Nick Marshall beat me. He's accurate, but maybe not the lead-a-comeback-against FSU accurate. So we'll see. The X-factor is Marshall's legs - he's rushed for over 1,000 yards this year. This makes him a plus quarterback (his 82.4 overall QBR per ESPN indicates this). Auburn's defense has been mediocre against top competition, allowing lots of points.
In this, the most serious preview I've written this year, I'm going to stick with most conventional wisdom and say that the game is Florida State's to lose. If they get up a couple touchdowns early, Auburn is going to have to abandon the run, right? Gus Maizahn has proven himself to be an offensive genius but I'm not sure he can overcome this one.
Any Redemption? BRING ME THE BORTLES. And yes, because the Auburn ridiculous luck factor coupled with their underdog status makes this game very interesting. And please, FSU, don't let the SEC win another one.
This Game, in a GIF: See above.
Drink of Choice: Let's end the season on a classy note, folks. Leave your spirit of choice out to get closer to room temperature a bit, pour it into a cold glass, neat, and enjoy it.