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Pasadena Here We Come

By on December 30th, 2013 in Football 5 Comments »
gus malzahn

                                                                                                                                                                                                               Photo by Brandon Marcello/al.com

Let the buildup begin.

One week from tonight, Auburn plays its most improbable football game ever. How fitting that it be against Florida State, a program that is everything SEC but its address.

Unlike three years ago, there are more question marks heading into the BCS Championship game. There is no Cam Newton; yet this offense may be better than Gus Malzahn’s first edition. How well will they knock off the rust?

There is no Nick Fairley; but this defense, weak in some areas, may be the most opportunistic unit Auburn has ever fielded. Can the step up again on the biggest of stages?

On paper, Auburn appears to have little shot. What else is new? Nearly a 10-point underdog, the national media has decided Auburn’s luck will run out against the Seminoles. How quickly everyone forgets that they played four quarters of football before that final play of the Iron Bowl.

While Florida St. players have been vocal in their questioning of Auburn’s talent and schemes, Malzahn’s players have been all but invisible from the media in recent weeks. It’s that humble, workman like attitude that makes this team special.

Florida St. defensive end Christian Jones calls Auburn’s offense trickery. Linebacker Telvin Smith attributes the Tigers offensive success to poor play on defense.

“I feel like it’s a lack of execution on other people’s ends,” Smith said. “That’s why we’re going hard in practice, making sure we prepare well.”

Smith is a talented defender, but clearly handicapped between the ears.

The consensus nationally is that the long layoff will favor the Seminoles. I’m not so sure. Watching these bowl games over the past few days, it’s obvious that run first teams seem to have the advantage.

No unit has been more underestimated than the Auburn offensive line. The keys to the game will be how they perform up front and how the defensive secondary deals with Jameis Winston and the best set of receivers shy of the NFL.

That’s where the game will be decided. Pure and simple.

I’ll take my chances with that offensive line and defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson having a month to prepare for Winston.

This time around things feel totally different. FSU is the toast of the town. Auburn is the neat story that can’t last forever. The pundits may be correct, but something about this game just feels right.

Logic can’t explain it. Then again, how to do you explain this season? Auburn will be the visitors. They will wear white. They will be tagged as lucky and gimmicky and having no chance.

And best of all… these Auburn players and coaches wouldn’t have it any other way.

As Gus likes to say, “Buckle up. This is Auburn football.”

5 Comments

  1. War Eagle Girl War Eagle Girl says:

    Can I leave for Pasadena today? Well, I am leaving Thursday and can’t wait!! This is going to be some kinda game and I, for one, think we can win this game!! I am so excited ~ even more so than Glendale. There’s just something special about this team. Maybe it’s because it was so unexpected. We are in a win, win. We’re happy to just be there and winning it all would be cherry on the top! I have been on the #GusDelorean since day one and am not getting off!

    See you at the ship!

    We Comin’.

  2. wde1988 wde1988 says:

    Not expected to win?

    The other team is heavily favored?

    More or less, its Auburn against the world?

    We gottem right where we want them.

    AU wins by 17.

    Winston will have to have Dee Ford surgically removed from his body…. and Nick Marshall? The game MVP.

    WDE

  3. domaucan1 domaucan1 says:

    J.C.,
    Thanks for a great writeup. This has been an exciting, unbelievable ride and the Gus Bus is nearing the station. As I have said before, the greatest thing about this 2013 Auburn team is their hearts. They will not quit and everyone will know that in about a week. They are all Auburn Tigers and this IS AUBURN FOOTBALL!

    AND, everyone knows:

    IT’S GREAT TO BE AN AUBURN TIGER !!!

    WAR EAGLE !!!

    GO BIG BLUE !!!

    BEAT THE SEMINOLES !!!

  4. War_Eagle_2010 War_Eagle_2010 says:

    I’m officially 100% geared up for the game now. I really do think AU will take this one and run with it. A few thoughts: Based on all the FSU players comments it’s clear they think they are entiltled to win this game, advantage AU. If Winston was pressured as much as he was against lowly Duke, how much more pressure will he face against the best D-line he has ever faced?

    I predict we see a game strikingly similar to the SECCG, only AU will eliminate the turnovers and show no mercy.

  5. MyAuburn MyAuburn says:

    Fact: FSU gives up 2.3 sacks per game against ACC competition
    Fact: FSU has not played a team who averages over 200 yds per game rushing
    Fact: FSU has not played against an offense with so many moving parts as the Tigers
    Fact: FSU has not had to play hard, deep into the game

    Add those up and it sure looks like we have an edge on both sides of the ball.