The final national championship game of the BCS era pits the team that always seemed to figure out a way -- often miraculously -- to win the close games in 2013 with the one that never had to worry about a tight finish.
Led by Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jameis Winston, No. 1 Florida State (13-0) arrived in Pasadena for the BCS National Game having won 11 of their 13 games by more than 30 points. The margins of victory in their two narrowest wins were 14 and 27 points, respectively. In order to finish off their dominant campaign with a national title, the Seminoles will have to get past No. 2 Auburn (12-1). College football's team of destiny, Auburn needed two of the most amazing finishes you'll ever see just to reach the SEC Championship Game.
No. 1 Florida State vs. No. 2 Auburn
TIME: 8:30 p.m. ET
LOCATION: Rose Bow, Pasadena, Calif.
Having knocked off then-No. 1 Alabama and then-No. 5 Missouri in their previous two outings, Gus Malzahn's Auburn Tigers shouldn't be overwhelmed by their top-ranked opponent or the stage of the Rose Bowl.
"We found ways to win in a lot of different, unique ways," Malzahn told reporters ahead of the BCS title game. "Some people call it destiny, some people call it luck. But bottom line is we play in the SEC and we played some very good opponents, and our offense responded when they've had to, our defense responded when they had to, our special teams. So we've won a lot of different ways. That's hard to do in college football, and I'm real proud of our team getting us here."
Can the team of destiny halt Florida State's dominant run? Will Famous Jameis' prolific offense score at will against this SEC defense? Will Auburn's Tre Mason be able to move the ball against the Noles' stout defense?
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For the first time since the 2005 season, the national champion comes from outside the SEC.— Paul Myerberg (@PaulMyerberg) 3 years ago
Auburn tried to lateral it a bunch of times on the final play but it didn't work. FLORIDA STATE HAS WON THE BCS CHAMPIONSHIP GAME!
Every Georgia fan and player, to FSU right now: knock the pass down.— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) 4 years ago
Auburn is better than I thought they were. But Florida State might be too.— Ira Schoffel/TDO.com (@IraSchoffel) 4 years ago
Chris Davis was dragged down at around the 16-yard line on the kickoff with 9 seconds left. Do the Auburn Tigers have one more miracle in them?
This game sums up exactly why college football is great. Wow. Just wow.— Pete Thamel (@SIPeteThamel) 4 years ago
Extra point makes it 34-31. Auburn has 13 seconds left to work with and 2 timeouts...
What a game. What a finish.— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) 4 years ago
Winston ran a play-action pass and hit Kelvin Benjamin in the end zone for a TOUCHDOWN!
Winston went for the end zone and threw an incomplete pass but PASS INTERFERENCE was called on the defense. Good call.
FSU was penalized 5 yards for a delay of game. 3rd and 8 coming up now. 21 seconds left.
Winston hit Freeman coming out of the backfield for a 7-yard gain. He got out of bounds to stop the clock at 21 seconds.
After picking up the first down with a short pass over the middle, Winston threw an incomplete pass that stopped the clock at 27 seconds. FSU faces 2nd and 10 from the 12-yard line.
FSU called their 2nd timeout after a short run to get to the 20. 47 seconds left.
Will Jameis have his Vince Young moment? Same direction as VY when he stunned USC here.— Pete Thamel (@SIPeteThamel) 4 years ago
Winston goes to Rashad Greene on the right side and he broke a tackle and ended up with a huge gain. Now FSU is already at Auburn's 22.
Winston gets the ball back at the 20. Here we go. One drive left.
Oh you, beautiful sport. One drive to define the season. Here we go.— Travis Haney (@TravHaneyESPN) 4 years ago
As a team, pretty sure Auburn could get caught in a hurricane and not get wet.— Paul Myerberg (@PaulMyerberg) 3 years ago
What a game. Down on the sideline now. Feels like USC Texas 8 years ago.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) 4 years ago
Advantage, Mason. Final serve to Winston.— Matt Hinton (@MattRHinton) 4 years ago
On 2nd and 16, Tre Mason got the handoff, ran to his right and broke a bunch of tackles en route to a 37-YARD TOUCHDOWN. 31-27 AUBURN with 1:19 left in the game.
Jernigan is walking off with the help of trainers.— Ira Schoffel/TDO.com (@IraSchoffel) 4 years ago
FSU star defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan is down injured on the field. He looks gassed.
Does Auburn have one more miracle in them? #BCS— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) 4 years ago
Nick Marshall escaped from 2 different FSU defenders, scrambled and completed a 12-yard pass on 3rd and 11.