There are only a couple of questions about tonight’s outcome of the National Championship game between FSU and Auburn. If you just look at how the two teams got here, it’s easy to pick FSU to win going away.
The Seminoles won every game by double digits and scored more than 40 points almost every Saturday.
“Our best game is still out there,” head coach Jimbo Fisher scarily told the assembled media this week.
If that’s true, the Seminoles could already be considered one of the best teams in college football history. But they have some flaws, at least statistically.
FSU has given up a lot of yards through the air. Some of that is scheme, as they try to pressure the quarterback and play man-to-man behind it. Some of it is that they’ve been ahead so easily and so early that other teams had no choice but to throw the ball.
But some if it comes from risk-taking and giving up the big play. That’s where Auburn might have a chance to take advantage of the Seminole’s style. The Tigers have speed and deception on offense, something that will give the ‘Noles difficulty early on.
“We don’t call them trick plays,” Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn said when asked about his play calling. “The players call them special plays.”
Misdirection, reverses, speed to the edge, all of that is what the Tigers have lived on this year. They’ll score some points, particularly early, and they’ll need to against a potent FSU offense.
Florida State will score points, no question. With their Heisman winning quarterback Jameis Winston throwing it to NFL-quality wide receivers, an All-American tight end and three running backs rotating to stay fresh, they’ll be able to do what they want on offense.
Auburn will have the same success early in the game and it will look like a contest at halftime.
In the second half, that’s where the Seminoles will continue to score and their defensive speed will start to shut down the Tigers. They’ll wear on Auburn and continue to relentlessly drive the ball on offense. But the final whistle, it’ll be another double-digit win by FSU, something like 37-24.
Having said that, remember that Auburn had a couple of miracles to get to this game, the “Prayer at Jordan-Hare” and the kick return in the Iron Bowl that nobody expected. They do have a bit of destiny on their side, so a couple of turnovers and another small miracle could change this game completely.