BCS as a Playoff: Florida State beats an SEC opponent in 2013, but is it Auburn or Alabama?

Welcome to Dr. Saturday's BCS as the College Football Playoff feature. This week we'll go through each of the 16 years of the BCS and hypothesize if the national championship would have changed hands under the new College Football Playoff.

Since we don't have the benefit of a selection committee, we're taking the top four teams from the BCS standings entering bowl season. Does Alabama get a chance to make it three straight?

No. 1 Florida State (14-0)

Coach: Jimbo Fisher

Notable players: QB Jameis Winston, RB Devonta Freeman, WR Rashad Greene, WR Kelvin Benjamin, DL Timmy Jernigan, LB Telvin Smith DB Lamarcus Joyner

Florida State's season: The Seminole steamroller through the 2013 regular season looks more impressive now than it did on Jan. 7. Until the BCS Championship Game, FSU won every game by at least 14 points and the second-closest game to the 48-34 win at Boston College was a 27-point win over Miami. Even the craziest fans can't nitpick that, right? Winston, the runaway Heisman Trophy winner, threw for 4,057 yards, 40 touchdowns and 10 interceptions as both Greene and Benjamin had over 1,000 yards receiving.

No. 2 Auburn (13-1)

Coach: Gus Malzahn

Notable players: QB Nick Marshall, RB Tre Mason, WR Ricardo Louis, WR Sammie Coates, DL Dee Ford, LB Cassanova McKinzy, CB Chris Davis

Auburn's season: The Tigers lost to fellow SEC West Tigers LSU, but after that, we can boil the season down into two plays; Louis's catch against Georgia on fourth down and Davis's field goal return against Alabama. Because of those two plays, many felt that Auburn was a team of destiny. Destined to win the SEC title? Yes. Destined to win the national title? Close, but the magic ran out. Mason ran for 1,816 yards and Marshall also topped 1,000 on the ground while throwing for 1.,976.

No. 3 Alabama (11-2)

Coach: Nick Saban

Notable players: QB AJ McCarron, RB T.J. Yeldon, RB Kenyan Drake, WR Amari Cooper, LB C.J. Mosley, DB HaHa Clinton-Dix

Alabama's season: Alabama finished the regular season with one loss for the third straight year, but for the first time in those three years it wasn't able to get into the BCS Championship Game. It may sound crazy, but had Auburn had an additional loss – even a nonconference one – the Crimson Tide could have still gone to Pasadena. Instead, McCarron's career ended in New Orleans with a loss to Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl. He threw for 3,063 yards, 28 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

No. 4 Michigan State (13-1)

Coach: Mark Dantonio

Notable players: QB Connor Cook, RB Jeremy Langford, WR Bennie Fowler, LB Denicos Allen, LB Max Bullough, DB Darqueze Dennard

Michigan State's season: Much like Notre Dame in 2012, Michigan State put together an exceptional season that few saw coming on the heels of its defense. And coincidentally, the Spartans' only loss of the season came at Notre Dame on Sept. 21. After beating Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game, Michigan State was off to the Rose Bowl where it defeated Stanford 24-20. Cook played well against both the Buckeyes and Cardinal and Langford ran for 1,422 yards and 18 touchdowns.


The 2014 BCS Championship Game: Auburn's wins against Georgia and Alabama came in the final moments, but the potential signature moment in the BCS Championship Game came a little too soon. As Auburn was slowing the game down for a late score, Mason broke a 37-yard touchdown run to give the Tigers a 31-27 lead. But there was still 1:19 on the clock, plenty of time for Winston to lead Florida State down the field. He connected with Benjamin for a 2-yard touchdown pass with 13 seconds left. This time, there wasn't enough time left for Auburn. FSU won 34-31.

The Playoff matchups: No. 1 Florida State vs. No. 4 Michigan State, No. 2 Auburn vs. No. 3 Alabama

Just missing out: No. 5 Stanford, No. 6 Baylor

The semifinals: These games aren't a bad way to conclude our series. In the first semifinal, Michigan State's defense will keep the Spartans in the game against Florida State, but the Seminoles are just too good. Florida State makes it a two-possession game late.

Let's talk about Iron Bowl II. We can all agree that Auburn won on a complete fluke of a play, right? And the game was at home. If this is on a neutral field, it's tipped in Alabama's favor. Plus, the odds of something like the field goal return happening again are scant. While it's entirely possible that Auburn could have won via something unforeseen, we're going to go with the odds against it and say Alabama wins by three.

The final: Could Alabama have kept the SEC's title streak alive? No. The biggest knock on Florida State entering the season was the Seminoles' schedule and the lack of close games. Yes, the ACC was fifth out of the six power conferences in 2013, but those games weren't close because of Florida State's excellence. It's also impossible to question if FSU could muster the moxie to win a close game after the final drive against Auburn. Florida State wins 28-24.

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Nick Bromberg is the assistant editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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