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BCS National Championship: Can Florida State stop Auburn’s charmed run?

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday

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(USA Today Sports Images)

BCS National Championship
Florida State vs. Auburn
Pasadena, Calif.
Jan. 6, 2014

The end of the season is finally here and by the end of Monday night, we will have a new national champion - will the SEC add another national championship trophy to its case or will Florida State finally return to its national championship form?

This is an interesting matchup of teams simply because one has been dominant all season and the other has had a series of lucky, fortunate, amazing bounces to get to the national championship.

Florida State, led by Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Jameis Winston has been the most dominant team in the country. It has outscored opponents by an average of 43 points and has won every game but one by at least 27 points. It has dominated the four ranked opponents it has played and has pretty much cruised to its spot atop the national rankings.

Auburn’s run to the national title game has been a little more interesting. The Tigers needed a last-second immaculate deflection to beat Georgia and an improbable kick-6 to beat rival Alabama. Auburn has aptly been named a team of destiny.

So, when destiny meets dominance, who has the advantage?

Florida State’s offense has three receivers – nicknamed The Trio – that have been abusing opponents all season. Rashad Greene, Kelvin Benjamin and Kenny Shaw each had more than 900 yards this season and have combined for 29 touchdowns. Benjamin has been especially effective late in the season. In the Seminoles final two games, he has amassed 331 yards and 5 touchdowns.

Meanwhile, Auburn has relied on its running game to do most of its offensive damage. Led by running back Tre Mason, a Heisman finalist, and quarterback Nick Marshall, the Tigers are averaging 505.3 yards and 40.2 points per game.

But Florida State defense appears to be prepared for the test. The Seminoles are known for their tough pass defense – 16 Florida State players have at least one interception – and the rushing defense has accounted for 33 sacks and is allowing just 93 yards per game.

Florida State will score on Auburn's porous defense – a defense that is allowing 423.5 yards per game and 24 points per game. However, the Tigers allowed an average of 36 points to its final three opponents.

Regardless of the outcome, when the final seconds tick down on this game, it will be a bittersweet moment as we say goodbye to the BCS.

MASCOT FIGHT

A spear-wielding Native American versus a Tiger might be one of the more interesting mascot fights of the season. If the Seminole had a horse and a higher vantage point, I would give him the advantage over the Tiger.

PREDICTIONS

Graham: Florida State 42, Auburn 24. The Auburn defense has been suspect all season and against quarterback Jameis Winston and trio of talented receivers it will be exposed. Auburn running back Tre Mason will be able to get some yards, but the Tigers’ offense will not be able to make up for its mediocre defense.

Nick: Florida State 34, Auburn 31. Jimbo Fisher said on Sunday that his staff had even gone and looked at high school tape of Gus Malzahn's to find some of what Malzahn calls "special" plays that Auburn could run. I think Malzahn may have a play or two that Fisher and his staff have never seen. However I think FSU is the better team and Jameis Winston caps his Heisman Trophy winning season in undefeated fashion.

Sam: Florida State 45, Auburn 34. Both of these offenses can score at any time, from any spot on the field. We know all about Jameis Winston and the passing attack of Florida State and Tre Mason and the rushing attack of Auburn. If Florida State has a late lead, will they be able to grind out the clock with the running game? Will Nick Marshall be able to lead a comeback with his arm? I trust Florida State’s offensive line to take over late and help the ‘Noles grind out a win.

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Graham Watson is the editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at dr.saturday@ymail.com or follow her on Twitter!

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