The battle between the No. 2 Auburn Tigers (12-1, 7-1 SEC) and the No. 1 Florida State Seminoles (13-0, 8-0 ACC) Monday night for the 2014 BCS National Championship is undoubtedly the biggest game of the year.
With a four-team playoff being implemented starting next season, this battle between the SEC and the ACC should be the perfect way to cap off the BCS era. The change will be welcomed by fans tired of the hypocrisy of the current structure, but the final matchup determined by the old system should make for an exciting championship game.
Here is all of the vital viewing information, key details and a full prediction for the biggest matchup of the 2013-14 season.
Where: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif.
When: Monday, Jan. 6 at 8:30 p.m. ET
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Betting Line (via Covers)
Over/Under: 67, Spread: Auburn (+9)
Auburn Injuries (via USA Today)
|Joshua Holsey||DB||Out for season|
|Justin Garrett||LB||Out for season|
|Jaylon Denson||WR||Out for season|
|Jeffrey Whitaker||DT||Out for season|
|Source: USA Today|
Florida State Injuries (via USA Today)
|Isaiah Jones||WR||Out indefinitely|
|Greg Dent||WR||Out indefinitely|
|Matthew Thomas||LB||Out for season|
|Wilson Bell||OL||Out for season|
|Tyler Hunter||DB||Out for season|
|Ira Denson||OL||Out for season|
|Jeremy Kerr||TE||Out for season|
|Kevin Haplea||TE||Out for season|
|Willie Haulstead||WR||Out for season|
|Jarred Haggins||WR||Out for season|
|Source: USA Today|
Top Storyline: Can Jameis Winston Complete the Perfect Season?
After finishing the 2013 season with an undefeated record and a berth in the BCS National Championship Game, Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston was awarded for his outstanding play with the Heisman Trophy.
Winston unquestionably deserved the award after not only leading the Seminoles to a perfect season but also amassing one of the most impressive statistical campaigns for a freshman in college football history.
Even Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson is impressed with Winston:
The quarterback connected on 237 of 349 passing attempts for 3,820 yards and an impressive 67.9 completion percentage. With just 10 interceptions compared to his 38 touchdowns and 190.1 passer rating, Winston’s ability to protect the football and make smart choices in the heat of battle has been his biggest strength.
Auburn’s tough SEC-style defense has given some of the best quarterbacks in the country fits this season—allowing just 24 points per game—but the Tigers have not faced a player with as much raw talent as Winston.
Auburn deserves credit for its stellar season, including beating Alabama in historic fashion during the Iron Bowl, stopping Missouri in the SEC Championship and winning nine games in a row to end the year, but this is a year of destiny for Winston and the entire Florida State program.
Led by Winston and the balanced offensive attack, the Seminoles have averaged an astonishing 53 points and 529.4 yards of total offense per game this season. As well as the Tigers have played defensively, the program has not played a team with this much depth and skill.
Florida State’s offense has played extremely well in 2013, but the real difference will be the team’s elite defensive unit. The Seminoles have allowed only 10.7 points per game during their undefeated campaign and have given up an impressive 17 or fewer points in 12 of 13 matchups.
When asked to talk about the comparisons between Florida State’s defense to SEC-style defenses, Nevada head coach Brian Polian told Paul Myerberg of USA Today about the similarities:
They physically look like an SEC football team. The one thing that struck me was that in today's world of spread-out, basketball-on-grass, they were physical in all three phases of the football game. They were physical in the kicking game, they were physical on offense and they were physical on defense.
They play SEC-type football, for what it's worth, whatever people think that means. They can line up with a fullback and come downhill and knock you backwards. In the ACC, where you see so much spread and people want to turn it into a space game, this team has the ability to line up and be physical with you on both sides of the ball.
Auburn has been one of the most impressive stories of the college football season, but history will be made when Winston and the entire Seminoles program cap off the perfect season with another victory.
Predicted Final Score: Florida State 38, Auburn 24
*Stats via CFBstats.com.