Dec. 29, 2013
Gus Malzahn continues to work his Tigers during a post-Christmas practice (Todd Van Emst photo)
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- Auburn's Gus Malzahn is watching game video trying to determine what Florida State's tendencies are when the Seminoles are put in stressful situations.
Problem for Malzahn, Florida State has hardly been in put in a stressful situation this year.
"It's very unique for the fact that they haven't had hardly any close games," Malzahn said. "When you're watching it just from an offensive standpoint watching their defense, their backups are in there as much as their starters are because they're just blowing people out."
Away from the video room, Auburn continues to prepare to meet Florida State in the BCS Championship Game on Jan. 6 in Pasadena with practices scheduled Sunday and Monday on campus before heading west. The Tigers made it to the title by showing fortitude in close games, winning four times with less than two minutes to play, winning twice with the biggest of plays against Georgia and Alabama.
Florida State made it without much duress at all. The Seminoles beat Boston College 48-34 on Sept. 28, then proceeded to run past everybody. The Seminoles lead the nation in scoring defense. The Seminoles are No. 2 in scoring offense. Florida State hasn't trailed in the last 571 minutes and 49 seconds of game action. So it's back to the video replays for Auburn coaches.
"You're always looking for information," Malzahn said. "They haven't trailed in the second half hardly at all, so that's the challenge. They're a very good team in all areas. They beat everybody pretty soundly."
SEC fans will say Florida State had an easier go than Auburn, first by playing a forgettable non-conference schedule and then by getting to play in the ACC. Florida State's game notes for the BCS counter that the Seminoles have beaten four Top 25 teams by a combined 200-35, though there's a chance only two of the those teams will be ranked when the season is done.
Auburn, by contrast, is 5-1 against the Top 25, including wins over then-No. 25 Georgia, then-No. 1 Alabama and then-No. 5 Missouri to close out the season.
Now, Auburn will try to win the eighth straight BCS title by an SEC team.
"Each year is different and as a team you don't really get caught up in that," Malzahn said. "We're playing a big-time team. I don't care what conference they're from. We've got our hands full. We understand that."
Malzahn said the SEC versus the world is "for fans and all that."
"We're just focused on the game no matter who we're playing."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine