With Auburn and Florida State both having great seasons, I am eager to see what happens when the two play in the BCS National Championship Game. With each team having a month to get healthier and really study the opposition, I am expecting this to be an interesting matchup out in California.
The Tigers and Seminoles have not played any common opponents, but I don't have any doubt that Auburn has played a much tougher schedule. However, when I look at the Seminoles what really stands out is just how impressive this team has been in handling the opposition week after week.
In addition to winning all 13 of their games, nobody has even come close to beating the Seminoles, who have put away their opposition early in those contests. To me that is the sign of a well-prepared, well-coached and highly-focused group of football players. Combine that with a lot of talent and confidence and the Seminoles will arrive at the Rose Bowl as perhaps the most complete football team Coach Gus Malzahn's Tigers have faced this season.
Looking at the opponents the Tigers have played in 2013 I would say that Alabama is probably the team that is the closest to the Seminoles. In addition to Alabama, Auburn faced other talented teams, but each had an obvious weakness or two. FSU is ranked No. 1 and from what I have seen so far this season the Seminoles are solid in all areas with no obvious weaknesses.
Florida State is going to find its opponent in the title game to be well-coached and prepared, which has been something that we have seen week after week from Gus Malzahn and the men he brought on board to help him coach the Tigers. There has not been a game this season in which the Auburn players were not ready to give a strong effort from an emotional and physical standpoint and that has been a real pleasure to watch.
It should be a classic football game with two teams entering the contest on a hot streaks offensively. The defenses are going to have to play very well to contain these offenses.
Florida State probably gets most of its big plays off the passing game even the Seminoles are more balanced in producing yardage from both the running and passing attacks. Auburn is much more run-oriented, but despite that the Tigers have been able to get a lot of big plays off the passing game, and plenty in the running game, too.
Beyond the matchups what stands out is that this is a great, great opportunity for a team that has already surpassed anything that I was expecting it to do in Coach Malzahn's first season back at Auburn. I figured his team would be much improved compared to last season, but would have never dreamed this group of Tigers would be playing for college football's biggest prize.
I hope the Auburn fans who make the trip to the game in California have a wonderful time. The same goes for folks watching it on TV. Regardless of what happens in Pasadena, nothing is going to take away from the fact that this has been a special year for Auburn football, a season that has built the foundation for more successful seasons to follow.
(If you have a question or a subject you would like me to write about in future columns, you can email it to PatDye@autigers.com.)
Editor's Note: This is part of a series of columns that College Football Hall of Fame member Pat Dye is writing for AUTigers.com about the game he played and coached. An All-American player at Georgia and one of the top head coaches in SEC history at Auburn, he also served as a head coach at East Carolina and Wyoming.