NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — The hype, the talk and the buildup are now in the rearview mirror. It's time for No. 1 Florida State and No. 2 Auburn to kick off the BCS National Championship Game on Monday night, with the crystal football on the line.
Both coaches are ready.
But are they too "ready?"
The monthlong layoff provided the Seminoles' Jimbo Fisher and the Tigers' Gus Malzahn plenty of time to hit the film room, but both coaches were wary of giving their staffs too much information.
"As far as the number of practices, what we did to game plan, and the other thing is not trying to do too much," Fisher said. "Sometimes you know so much about your opponent and you try to do too much. You have to play five more games to get all the plays in you want. You have to make sure you keep doing things you do well."
Malzahn agreed that overanalyzing the opponent could hurt a team once it takes the field.
"Anytime you have 30 days you're going to have all the information and then some, and then as a coach you've just got to filter all that and predict the best you can on what they're going to do offensively, defensively and special teams," Malzahn said.
Part of that time is spent going back to the drawing board for the coaches.
It isn't so much what your opponent does as it is what's going on in-house that's important. What tendencies emerged during games? Which players showed signs of life late that could be X-factors in the title game?
"I think it's very important that you self scout yourself," Malzahn said. "So we've tried to do a great job of that, even like we're our own opponent just to see what they're seeing, and then you match up."
Filtering information is tough for a coaching staff for such a big game, which is why you should expect the BCS National Championship Game to feel more like an old-school heavyweight boxing match between two champions.
"The first quarter is a feeling-out time, and then after that things usually settle down and then you can actually get in a rhythm," Malzahn said.
The final pregame press conference of the year for both coaches served as a the final chapter of a novel filled with analysis.
It's up to each one to decide which chapters to pay attention to and which ones to disregard.
Whichever chooses best will be the one taking home that crystal football on Monday night.
*Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.
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