Auburn and Florida State arrived in Pasadena on New Year’s Eve ready to do battle on Monday night for the national championship.
I will have daily blog posts beginning Thursday running through Tuesday on the day’s events and information. We will also have daily video updates on our website as well as features on both FSU that I will handle and Auburn by Christina Chambers. We will give you full access to the player and the coaches as well as the flavor of the BCS hype. Having been a part of six of the last eight BCS title games, I can tell you the looser team is not always the best team. It will be interesting to see which team takes the business-like approach and which one loves the limelight.
The time off will create an advantage for both defenses in their preparation. The Noles have had time to analyze and disseminate the Auburn rushing attack while the Tigers have had time to evaluate the FSU passing attack. I believe the strength of both offenses could be neutralized early in the game because of this time off and the fact that each defense has had time to come up with a good plan. The offense that adapts and adjusts quicker will find early success.
To put into perspective the value of having extra time to prepare, look at the results of Auburn and FSU’s defenses after their two bye weeks this season. FSU against the run and Auburn against the pass.
FSU held Nevada to 53 yards below its season average rushing. The Seminoles held Clemson to 50 yards below its season average. Both teams combined for an average of 3.15 yards per carry.
Auburn only allowed Ole Miss to complete 53 percent of its passes which was 11 percent lower than its season average. They also held Alabama to 58 percent completion percentage, 9 percent off its 67 percent season average.
Before we land in Los Angeles here are some numbers to chew on for the big game:
- Both teams average over 500 yards a game in total offense.
- FSU averages 53.2 points per game while Auburn averages 40.2 points per game.
- FSU averages 7.8 yards per play while Auburn averages seven yards per play.
- The Seminoles were 3-0 vs. ranked opponents while the Tigers were 4-1.
- These two teams played just four top 25 defenses this season. FSU played Clemson and Florida while Auburn played Alabama and LSU.
- Auburn had 140 runs of over 10-plus yards and FSU had 180 passes of 10-plus yards or more.
Coming up on Thursday FSU defensive players and Auburn offensive players will visit with the media. The two Seminoles I am looking forward to hearing from the most are defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan and defensive back Lamarcus Joyner.
I would expect Auburn to have some wrinkles in its offense to neutralize the speed and power of Jernigan. He will be the disruptive force that Reese Dismukes and the Auburn offense have to deal with on the defensive line.
Lamarcus Joyner is a terrific defensive back with a high football IQ. He has spent the last three years at safety before moving back to his high school position of cornerback. He plays well in the box and can tackle in space. Auburn will practice at UC Irvine while FSU will practice at Orange Coast College.