PHOTO: USA Today Sports
On Monday night, the college football season will culminate as the top two teams face off to see who will hoist the crystal trophy. Florida State has run through the ACC like a hot knife through butter and their opponent Auburn is the hottest team in college football. Here are the biggest questions facing both of these teams as they head into this showdown….
How will Nick Marshall handle the big stage?
Two years ago Marshall was playing corner at Georgia. Now he's quarterbacking a team in the National Championship Game. As a passer, he's coming off of two very efficient games (2 TDs and 68.6% completions against Alabama and 1 TD and 81% completions against Missouri). How will he handle his assignments in this big game? Will he be able to make the throws when he needs to? Can he curb some fumbling issues?
Can the Auburn defense get stops?
After Auburn's offensive performance against Missouri, most of the talk going into the game has been about their offense but FSU has a very good one in it's own right. In two of it's last three games, the Auburn defense has given up 38 and 42 points. Can the Auburn defense stop a Florida State offense that is third in the Nation on third downs converting 55.17% and first in the Nation scoring on 97.1% of red zone trips.
Will Auburn switch up their game plan?
Auburn has pounded the rock this year running it 71.1% of the time. Will they come out and go against the grain and throw the ball around more than usual to try and catch the Seminoles defense off guard?
Has Auburn's luck run out?
As good as Auburn has been, they've also needed two "once in a lifetime" plays to get to this game. The "Prayer at Jordan Hare" against Georgia and their missed FG return for a TD against Alabama. Do they have another rabbit tucked up their sleeve that they will pull out against FSU?
Is FSU prepared to win a close one?
Florida State has destroyed everybody they've played this season with their best wins coming over Clemson and Duke. But, they've been so good against their competition that they haven't been in a close game all season. If they get down late, will they be able to come back? How will they handle the pressure if it comes?
Can Florida State stop this Auburn running attack?
The Seminoles have a strong rushing defense, allowing 3.12 ypc and 111 ypg. In their closest game of the year they gave up 200 yards on the ground (and a 4.4 ypc average) to Boston College in a 14 point win. Auburn's rushing offense has gotten better and better as the season has progressed and they are coming off of their best game and have also had a lay-off to throw more wrinkles into their offense. How will this talented FSU defense fare against Tre Mason and Auburn's run game?
We will find out the answers on Monday evening as we will crown the 2013 BCS National Champions. Auburn goes for their second title in four years and the SEC's eighth straight Championship and FSU goes after their first National Title since 1999.