You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Colleges

  • Badgers survive test against Georgetown
    Duje Dukan thought he had created a turnover with a held ball. The referees said he was guilty of a foul instead. It’s a play that won’t make highlight reels, won’t get pointed to in any boxscore. But it sparked No.
  • Boykin and No. 6 TCU romp over Texas
    AUSTIN, Texas — Trevone Boykin passed for two touchdowns and ran for another, and No.
  • Mustangs run away from Texas Southern
    DALLAS (AP) — Nic Moore scored 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting, with seven steals and six assists, as the Warsaw Community High School graduate led SMU over Texas Southern 72-59 on Wednesday.
Advertisement
BCS title game
No. 1 Florida State vs. No. 2 Auburn
When: 8:30 p.m. today
TV: ESPN

BCS foes followed different paths to title game

– Team Destiny vs. Team Domination.

Before the Bowl Championship Series is replaced next year by a playoff, No. 1 Florida State and No. 2 Auburn will meet in its last title game tonight at the Rose Bowl.

The Seminoles (13-0) ripped through their schedule on the way to Pasadena, winning each game by at least 14 points behind Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston.

“I still think our best game is out there,” Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said Sunday. “I’m looking forward to playing it on Monday night, and our kids are looking forward to the challenge.”

The turnaround Tigers (12-1) were an unlikely group to reach the BCS championship game. Auburn went from 3-9 last year to Southeastern Conference champs in their first season under coach Gus Malzahn. It was a wild ride. The Prayer at Jordan-Hare beat Georgia. The Kick-Six beat Alabama. Destiny? Luck? The Tigers don’t see it that way.

“Hey, I know we’re a team of hard work, I know that,” said tailback Tre Mason, a Heisman finalist who has run for 1,621 yards and 22 touchdowns for the No. 1 rushing offense in the country. “These guys put a lot of hard work in with me every day, blood, sweat and tears all year long.”

Auburn is the first team to reach the BCS championship game after having a losing season the previous season, and would become the first national champion to start the season unranked since BYU in 1984.

“Well, Auburn is a great program and used to winning championships, so I knew that we were going to get it turned around,” Malzahn said. “I didn’t know how quick. There was a lot of questions when we first got there. We did a lot of Dr. Phil-ing early, and our guys came together and they believed.”

Malzahn’s up-tempo, spread offense is a combination of deception and power that seemingly gets better every game. Against Missouri in the SEC championship game, Auburn ran for 545 yards.

“Well, you have to have eye discipline,” Fisher said. “Any time you have moving parts, any time you bring something in front of you, just like when you’re driving, if somebody flashes a hand in front of you while you’re driving down the road it makes you blink, it makes your eyes distracted and you get off of what you’re looking at and then at the same time they become very physical with how they play, and you get yourself out of position, they knock you out of the way, and there’s a four, five, eight, 10 or they break a run right up the middle.”

Fisher has put together the most talented two-deep depth in the country, a collection of five-star recruits and NFL prospects reminiscent of Bobby Bowden’s best teams. The Seminoles won two national titles under Fisher’s Hall of Fame predecessor and played in the first three BCS title games. The Seminoles haven’t been back since 2000.

A prodigy led them.

Winston turns 20 today. The redshirt freshman became the youngest player to win the Heisman Trophy, setting FBS freshman records for most yards passing by a freshman (3,820) and touchdown passes (38). His only problems came off the field. In November, a year-old sexual assault complaint against him was investigated by Florida prosecutors. After three weeks, the state attorney announced he did not have enough evidence to charge Winston. A week and a half later, Winston won the Heisman in a landslide vote.

The Seminoles outscored their opponents by 42 points per game and have not trailed since Sept. 28. Winston and the rest of the starters have spent most fourth quarters relaxing. The Atlantic Coast Conference was no match for the Seminoles. Will the lack of stiff, four-quarter tests put Florida State at a disadvantage?

The `Noles say nonsense.

“I can’t help that another team can’t keep up with us,” linebacker Telvin Smith said.

Florida State is also trying to break the SEC’s grip on the national championship. The streak is at seven, but never has the SEC team been as big an underdog (Auburn is getting 8 1/2 points from oddsmakers).

Advertisement