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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Auburn vs FSU: Tale of The Tigers

The final preview of the 2013-2014 season is here. Auburn vs Florida State in the BCS National Championship Game this Monday will wrap up the last BCS game ever. Florida State comes in as an 8.5 favorite in Pasadena, but the Tigers look to shake up the Seminole world by the time the clock hits 0:00. Below you will read about Auburn's strengths, Auburn's weaknesses, how Auburn can win, how Auburn can lose, Auburn's schedule breakdown and how Auburn has fared rushing the ball against their opponents throughout the year.


Auburn's Strengths
This should be no surprise, running the ball. Auburn has been able to run on anyone they want to. and you figure it would wear down players throughout the year, but in fact, Auburn has almost perfected the read-option as the season has went on. Nick Marshall was the perfect fit for Gus Malzahn's system, but needed a few weeks to settle in. It wasn't until the Ole Miss game where Marshall really stepped up and made plays with his legs to show he could run effectively and often. With Tre Mason and Marshall on the same page, Auburn has been able to rack up some massive yards against the best defenses in the SEC and in the country. Auburn has ran for over 295 yards 9 times this year and 4 times over 400. It doesn't matter who Auburn is playing, the Tigers will run the ball and it will be effective.
Auburns front 4. Auburn's D-Line has been a very positive aspect of the Tigers game all year long. They have stopped Manziel, Murray, Wallace, and McCarron on certain occasions in big time situation, against the best O-Lines in the SEC. Again it doesn't matter who the Tigers face off against, there will be QB hurries and sacks. Whether you are the Heisman winner or not.
Kicking Machines. Cody Parkey and Steven Clark have turned into real machines kicking the ball. Auburn's high powered offense seldom punts or takes a field goal, but when they do, they are automatic. Clark ended the regular season on a high not pinning Alabama on the 1 yard line multiple times. Field position is key in games when points are hard to come by. And Parkey, its hard to find a reliable kicker in College Football today. That's exactly what Parkey is. Only a handful of times this year has the ball been returned on a kickoff. It doesn't happen because he almost kicks the ball through the goal posts every time.

Auburn's Weaknesses
Defense. The Tigers do give up a ton of yards and at times we are all holding our breathes and pulling our hair because we never know exactly what the defense will do. Johnny Football crushed the secondary. Aaron Murray moved with ease in the 4th Quarter. A.J McCarron made history and chalked up milestones against Auburn. And James Franklin, at times, made moving the ball look like he was told the Defensive play in the huddle. Auburn has made stops when we needed them to, but there will be plenty of yards put up against Auburn in the Championship game. Auburn doesn't have many weaknesses, but this one is a big one. For Auburn to end this remarkable year with a win, the Tigers will be tested and will need to make key stops.
 
How Auburn Can Lose
Auburn has faced great talent on both sides of the ball all year. And in one circumstance, didn't come out on top. When Auburn played LSU, the Tigers in orange and blue had a lot of things going against them. For one, it was at LSU. Almost no one wins AT LSU. Two, the first half rain poured down, and lets face it when it is raining in your face, it is a little hard to see. Three, it was the first test. How would Auburn play against a top opponent? How would they handle stressful situations? Auburn turned the ball over early and often. Botched hand offs, throws that shouldn't have been thrown. Turnovers. Auburn came back and fought, but lost that game due to turnovers. When I broke down QB play against FSU I noticed one thing that every QB but one had, turnovers. Granted most games were not close, but I can assure you FSU would be a lot more battle tested if their opposing QB didn't turn the ball over. For Auburn to lose this game, there will have to be turnovers beside Nick Marshall's name in the stat sheet afterwards.

My Prediction
The BCS National Championship will come down to the 4th Quarter. I truly believe that Auburn WILL run all over FSU. 350 rush yards is going to be the mark. If Auburn has over 300, I believe they have and 80% chance and with 350 it is a sure bet. Winston will throw the ball and have a good game, but Alabama and Missouri have better defenses than FSU as a whole. Nick Marshall will have a huge game along with Mason and this game turns out like the SEC Championship. Both teams score a lot and a few key stops will make it a ten point game. And yes, the Tigers will be bringing the Championship back to Alabama.

Auburn 41 - Florida State 31

 
Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @austin_preiss19 for more Auburn, SEC, and much more. WAR EAGLE!!
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