Dec 8 2013, 11:13pm CST | by Poch de la Rosa
According to ESPN, he undefeated Seminoles (13-0) beat all of their opponents by at least 14 points in 2013 and will make their first BCS National Championship Game appearance in 13 years. The team is also seeking its first national championship since 1999.
"Thank you very much, and we're honored to be here and representing the ACC and very excited about playing in the Rose Bowl National Championship and the BCS National Championship. Our kids are really looking forward to the opportunity, and it's been a tremendous season for us.
"We've got a tremendous group of players and coaches that have worked very hard and fans that have supported us, and we're looking forward to the opportunity to play a great Auburn team from the SEC and should be an outstanding ballgame, and looking forward to it.
"Never been to the Rose Bowl, so we're really looking forward to coming out that way."
Leading the way for the Seminoles is redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston, who "will likely have to stop in New York to pick up the Heisman Trophy before heading to Southern California," the ESPN report goes on to say.
Winston won a slew of accolades in 2013, including ACC Player of the Year, ACC Offensive Player of the Year, ACC Rookie of the Year and ACC Offensive Rookie of the Year. Him copping ACC Player of the Year honors is the first time an underclassman has done it in 61 years, writes Brandon Mellor of the Seminoles' athletics website.
On the other hand, the Tigers have turned their 2013 season completely around, going from last to first in the SEC under head coach Gus Malzahn. Auburn is also on the verge of winning its second national championship in four years.
Auburn is also part of the SEC, which has been represented in the BCS National Championship Game for eight consecutive years. Furthermore, the Tigers "can become the first and only team in the BCS era to finish the season with a national title after starting the season unranked in the major polls," says Brandon Marcello of AL.com.
Proof of the Tigers' resilience is finishing 2013 with a 12-1 record after sputtering to a 3-9 finish in 2012 with no SEC victory to speak of. Beating Florida State would allow Auburn to "complete the greatest single-season turnaround in NCAA major-college history," per The SportsXchange's Danny Aller.
Winston's counterpart, JUCO transfer and Pineview, Ga. native Nick Marshall, has led Auburn to nine consecutive wins. He also directs a powerful running game that amassed 545 yards in the 59-42 win against the Missouri Tigers on Dec. 7.
"The unique thing from my standpoint is this team finds a way to win, and it's really bizarre that how they complement each other -- the offense, the defense, special teams. When the pressure's on, our team's at the best, and it's been really something to be a part of."
The 2014 VIZIO BCS National Championship Game will be held on Jan. 6, 2014 in Pasadena, Calif.
Poch de la Rosa
Poch de la Rosa follows all major U.S. sports: NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and the NCAA. His favorite teams are the Colts, Braves, Pacers, Sharks and Irish, respectively.
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