The last year of this BCS system has to go out with a bang, and that is exactly what will happen.
Unlike last year's debacle of a national championship that came about when Alabama demolished Notre Dame, Auburn and Florida State will actually provide us with an entertaining game.
That matchup managed to crack my below list, and it is not alone. Check out three games I expect to provide memorable and close finishes.
|BCS Title Game||Jan. 6||Pasadena, Calif.||Florida State vs. Auburn|
|Orange||Jan. 3||Miami, Fla.||Clemson vs. Ohio State|
|Sugar||Jan. 2||New Orleans, La.||Alabama vs. Oklahoma|
|Fiesta||Jan. 1||Glendale, Ariz.||Baylor vs. UCF|
|Rose||Jan. 1||Pasadena, Calif.||Michigan State vs. Stanford|
Matchup: No. 4 Michigan State (12-1) vs. No. 5 Stanford (11-2)
This game will not be for all football fans. There aren't going to be a lot of highlights, flashy plays or points from this one.
There will be quality and hard-hitting football.
Both of these teams excel in the trenches. The key battle in this matchup will come when Stanford has the ball and goes to work with its physical rush attack.
The Cardinal's 23rd national ranking in rushing does not do them justice. They don't hit for a lot of big plays; it's just a steady diet of positive gains between the tackles.
That won't be easy in this game. The Spartans lead the nation having allowed just 80.8 rushing yards per game.
Both of these teams are in the top 11 in the nation in points allowed, and both will look to grind out the clock and control the ball, but only one team can win.
Stanford will edge out the Spartans in this one. Although their defense is not quite as stout, the Cardinal have a more balanced and effective offense.
Prediction: Stanford 17, Michigan State 15
Matchup: No. 12 Clemson (10-2) vs. No. 7 Ohio State (12-1)
This game is going to provide all the points that the Rose Bowl does not. Both of these offenses will be able to overwhelm the opposing defenses. That is thanks in large part to the quality play at quarterback both of these teams enjoy.
Ohio State's Braxton Miller and Clemson's Tajh Boyd give this game what is arguably the best quarterback matchup of all the bowls.
Miller combines with running back Carlos Hyde to give the Buckeyes the nation's fourth-most prolific rushing attack. Boyd and Clemson get their yards in a more vertical fashion.
Along with wide receiver Sammy Watkins, Boyd led the Tigers to the 12th-best passing attack in the nation.
These defenses are not terrible, and both are in the top 21 in points allowed. They are certainly vulnerable, however. That much was evident as Michigan toasted the Buckeyes for 41 points, and Clemson allowed Florida State to score 51.
I'm siding with the Buckeyes in a game where the last team to have the ball wins. With Ohio State's running game, they will have more control of time of possession, and that will pay off in the closing quarter.
Prediction: Ohio State 45, Clemson 42
BCS Title Game
Matchup: Florida State (13-0) vs. Auburn (12-1)
Florida State had a dominant season. Led by the nearly flawless play of freshman Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston, the Seminoles scored the second-most points in the nation. That is not as good as their defense. Florida State led the nation in points allowed.
I don't think Auburn is going to lose any sleep over the Seminoles' imposing stats. The Tigers' accomplishments come in the form of big wins over excellent teams. With wins over Alabama and Missouri in their last two contests, playing this game will just feel like the natural progression of their season.
For Florida State, it is a sudden escalation in competition.
Auburn is not going to be able to stop the Florida State offense. The Seminoles have too many athletes, and Auburn is not winning with its defense.
It is winning behind the nation's most prolific rushing attack.
Running back Tre Mason and quarterback Nick Marshall will be tasked with wearing down a Florida State defense that allowed just 3.14 yards per carry this season.
Still, Auburn has rushed all over quality defenses. The Tigers almost hit 300 yards rushing against Alabama.
I expect Auburn's strong offensive line to leave the Seminoles overwhelmed. Although Florida State will have plenty of success on offense, that won't do the 'Noles any good as Auburn controls the ball in the fourth quarter and pulls out a close win.
Prediction: Auburn 38, Florida State 34
Stats via CFBStats.com.
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