1 Florida State (13-0) vs. 2 Auburn (12-1)
Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA
5:30 pm PT / TV: ESPN
Tonight we close the book on not only the 2013 college football season, but also the Bowl Championship Series. Auburn and Florida State are playing in the 16th and final BCS national championship game. Starting next season, there will be a four-team playoff to decide college football's national champion.
But that's next year. This year, we have undefeated Florida State and once-beaten Auburn playing for all the Tostitos. Or is it all the Vizios? Whatever it is, it's time to say good bye to the BCS. SB Nation's Spencer Hall sends the BCS off with a proper eulogy:
You were a terrible matchmaker, for the most part, and someone who watched every single one of those games would probably agree. In 16 years, the chosen mechanism for selecting the two best teams in college football produced one undisputed classic: the 2005-ending USC-Texas game. The rest are either debatable at best, outright blowouts, or exercises in curious tedium like 2000's Oklahoma 13, Florida State 2.
You made average football games and sold them at a premium. This made you a dishonest way to end a football season. But you had a superb business strategy.
For the BCS's final act, we have Florida State and Auburn, neither of which is in its first BCS rodeo. This is Auburn's second appearance in the title game in four years (Auburn defeated Oregon in the 2011 BCS national championship game) while Florida State is playing in the championship game for the fourth time (FSU is 1-2 in its previous three appearances, beating Virginia Tech in the 2000 Sugar Bowl).
There's not a whole lot to say about this one that you probably don't know already. Florida State averages 53 points a game and gives up only 10.7 points per game -- both the best in the country. The Seminoles are led by Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Jameis Winston, a redshirt freshman who plays like anything but a freshman of any kind. As much as Winston's football skills are impressive, my favorite Jameis Winston play may be from the baseball field.
Opposing the Seminoles are the SEC champion Auburn Tigers. To say Auburn's rise to the national championship game under first-year coach Gus Malzahn is unexpected is an understatement. The Tigers were coming off a 4-8 season in 2013 and opened the season with a less-than-impressive 31-24 win at home against Washington State. The national championship game seemed even more unlikely after a 35-21 loss to LSU on September 21. But Auburn won 9 straight games, including the unforgettable Iron Bowl, where Auburn upset top-ranked Alabama with the now famous "kick six."
Believe it or not, that was not the only miracle finish that Auburn had during the regular season. Against Georgia on November 16, the game looked lost when the Tigers faced a 4th and 18 on their own 26 yard line, trailing 38-37. But Auburn pulled one out of the hat to win that one.
If you were an Auburn season ticket holder this season, you got your money's worth with just two games.
This is your open thread for the BCS national championship game. Talk about all the action right here. Enjoy the game and bid the BCS adieu.