It seems like there is one phrase that always comes up when we talk about championship games in any sport, but especially in football.
"Defense wins championships."
Tonight when Florida State and Auburn take the field for the 2014 BCS National Championship, most eyes will be on the offenses. For Florida State, that means Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston and an offense that led all of college football by averaging 53 points per game. For Auburn, it means Tre Mason and the No. 1 ground attack in the country that punished teams for an average of 335 yards per game on the ground.
If you look at predictions for the scores, you see these insane numbers. Seventy, 80, maybe even 90 combined points will be scored in tonight's game. Those numbers are possible and even probable in today's world of college football. With uptempo offenses and poor defenses, we have now become accustomed to watching track meets on the field.
Even Alabama, a team that featured such a stifling defense over their last two national championship wins, gave up 45 points to Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl just a few days ago.
This new world of college football is all about scoring. The team who has the ball last now generally is the winner.
Tonight will be different though, and it will be because of the defense of Florida State.
While Jameis Winston torches an Auburn secondary all night that has allowed points in bunches to any respectable offense, the Seminole defense will come out and take Auburn out of their game.
The Tigers love to run the football. They are first in the nation in yards gained on the ground per game and rank 107th in the nation in passing offense. This is a recipe that has proved successful all season, but will prove disastrous tonight.
Auburn will not be able to run the ball effectively against the Seminoles' front seven.
The Tigers will come out on their first few possessions Monday night and attempt to run the ball, and they certainly will have a little success, but not much of it. Meanwhile, while the Tigers struggle to run the ball in the first quarter, the Seminole offense will be throwing passes all over the field against a hapless Auburn secondary.
After falling behind early, Auburn will stick with their game plan of running the football just like they did against Alabama, a game which they of course came back to win. But there will be no rally tonight. The Tigers will continue to struggle on the ground while the relentless Florida State offense continues to rack up points against the Auburn defense.
The Tigers will eventually be forced to start throwing the football, but it will not go much better for them.
There will be no tipped Hail Mary miracle pass tonight, no Chris Davis returning a field goal for a miraculous touchdown, no rolling of palm trees in Pasadena.
This night will belong to the Seminoles for one reason.
Defense wins championships.