BCS Notebook, Day 5: Auburn's in game mode

Jan. 4, 2014

NickMarshall
Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall meets the BCS press (Todd Van Emst photo)

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- Auburn went to an NBA game, a comedy improv and had a night out eating beef.  

That's done. It's BCS Championship Game time, or at least it is for coach Gus Malzahn.

"The next 48 hours is going to be exactly like it has been the previous games we've had," Malzahn said Saturday. "We're starting to get in that mode. You can really sense that our players are starting to get a little bit more in tune to the finer details of everything."  

The game kicks off Saturday in Pasadena, and Auburn has already back off the strenuous portion of its practice schedule.  

"When we got on the plane we talked about it being a business trip, and our guys have done that. That's been their approach the whole year, and that's been one of the big keys why we're here."
 Charles Goldberg

Never fear, Underdog is here

Florida State is a 9-point favorite in the title game. 

"We've been the underdog all year, so we're pretty comfortable with that," Malzahn said. "Our guys have responded well when we've been underdogs."

Auburn has proved doubters wrong all season, or at least against everybody but LSU. The Tigers won four games in dramatic fashion. 

"I think being battled tested, if it's a close game will definitely help you," Malzahn said. There's no doubt that I know how our guys are going to react. They're not going to panic. They're going to believe."
 Charles Goldberg 

Jay Jacobs salutes Auburn team’s turnaround        

There’s no avoiding the pressure in college football these days, Auburn athletics director Jay Jacobs said Saturday. The Tigers of 2013, he said, embraced it. 

"These guys understand the responsibility they have and the weight on their shoulders, especially after going through a season like we had last year," Jacobs said. "But they also feel the wind at their back in a season like this. The great thing about this team is they never quit on each other even after going 3-9 last year. I couldn’t be more proud for them. 

"This is their legacy. You can come back now and say ‘I was on the 2010 team that won the national championship and I was on the 2013 team that did this.’ It’s good for the Auburn family."
 Phillip Marshall  

Questions, please

Auburn's Gus Malzahn was asked 149 questions during his 45-minute interview session during BCS Media Day on Saturday.
 Charles Goldberg

Auburn OT Pat Miller has no complaints  

Sophomore Auburn offensive tackle Pat Miller started the first three games of the season at right tackle before being suspended for three games for a previous violation of team rules. Avery Young took his place and never relinquished it.  

"I’m just want to win the national championship," Miller said. "I’m pulling for these guys and I want to do whatever can to help." 

Miller would be a candidate to move to left tackle should starter Greg Robinson decide to move on to the NFL.

"That’s what I would like, but that’s the coaches’ decision," Miller said. "They see things we don’t."
  Phillip Marshall

Even on a big stage, it’s a football game  

Senior Auburn middle linebacker Jake Holland said the high stakes in Monday night’s game only add to the fun.

"It is a big stage, but a field is a field," Holland said. "I’ve played in plenty of big games, so I’ve been there before. It’s nothing new, really." 

The biggest difference in Monday night’s game and a regular-season game, Holland said, is preparation time.

"You learn every little tendency," Holland said. You learn everything about what they do. They have the same amount of time. It goes both ways. You just have to go out there and play, just give it all you’ve got because it’s the last game of the season."
 Phillip Marshall  

Jacobs: Playoff won’t end controversy 

In the final weeks of the season, Jay Jacobs was outspoken in his belief that a one-loss Auburn team should be in the BCS Championship Game, even if Ohio State finished unbeaten. In the end, Ohio State lost to Michigan State and Auburn was in as the nation’s No. 2 team.

With the coming next season of a four-team playoff, Jacobs said there will still be controversy. 

"When you get the fourth team, who is going to be No. 5? If we’re sitting there No. 5 as an SEC school with one loss and another team from another league is No. 4 and we’ve played three top 10 teams and they haven’t, then I’m going to be an advocate for strength of schedule. It just makes sense. Why would you discard that when in every other sport we don’t. We talk about RPI in everything we do." 

Jacobs said Auburn fans everywhere were pulling hard for Michigan State in its victory over Ohio State.

"All the Auburn fans became Spartan fans on that Saturday night and willed them through it," Jacobs said with a laugh. "Plus, they are a darned good team. Watching them play the other night in the Rose Bowl, they have one of the best defenses we’ve seen in a while."
 Phillip Marshall 

Video: Checking in with Gus Malzahn and Nick Marshall...