Sam's Commentary

January 07, 2014 Commentary Archive

As Good As It Gets: FSU Wins National Championship

by Sam Kouvaris
Posted January 07, 2014 ===========================================================================

No team gets to the National Championship game without being a pretty good squad. Actually better than that. So when Auburn and FSU were matched up in Pasadena for the final BCS Championship game, nobody should have expected anything but a close game. It's never a mismatch unless the pollsters fall in love with one team (see Alabama vs. Notre Dame). But as the weeks wore on between their final games and their meeting in California, FSU became more and more of a favorite. Their quarterback won the Heisman Trophy and charmed the media with his easy, glib manner. Their coach gave an unfiltered view of what he thought of just about anything you asked him.

And the fans loved it.

Meanwhile, Auburn toiled in relative obscurity, highlights of their heart-stopping two final wins representing their entire season to most fans. In Pasadena, both teams said all the right things and looked poised to provide a great contest.

Once they kicked it off though, Auburn proved to be less effected by the big stage and played the kind of game that was expected: strong running game, some out-of-the-box offensive formations and quarterback Nick Marshall calmly hitting wide open receivers.

Florida State looked lost. Physically they were a match for the Tigers. Big across both lines and fast everywhere, the 'Noles had the look of a contender. But instead, they were rattled. Jameis Winston was rushing just about everything, from handoffs to checkdowns to throws, the All-American seemed to fall victim to the Heisman curse. Quarterbacks winning the Heisman and playing in the National Championship game had gone 2-5 coming into this game. Between nervous execution, unlikely penalties and dubious clock management, FSU gave up yards and points, trailing 21-10 at halftime.

In a nutshell, Auburn was playing as expected: FSU was not.

As the second half unfolded, Winston found a little rhythm and the 'Noles defense started to get the stops they needed. A couple of solid drives led to a field goal and a TD and cut the deficit to 21-20. But Auburn is nothing if not resilient. They pounded the ball down the field, chewing up clock to kick a field goal and a 24-20 lead. And that's when lightning struck for the 'Noles Levonte Whitfield returned a kickoff 100-yards to give the Noles a 27-24 lead. But again, Auburn got to this game by playing to the final whistle, scoring a TD of their own on a Tre Mason 37-yard blistering run to lead 31-27.

So it's over right?

Not exactly.

With just over a minute to go, Jameis Winston lead the FSU offense down the field, 80 yards for a TD of their own, for a 34-31 lead. Winston's arm was the difference. His toss to Rashad Greene chewed up a bunch of yardage and stopped the clock, putting the 'Noles in position to score. This is where Winston was tested. As a 20-year old, it would be very easy to make a mistake and throw an interception at this point but he was patient, taking no chances and hit Kelvin Benjamin on a high toss for the TD.

For all of their problems in the first half and at the beginning of the 3rd quarter, FSU stuck together. They regained their poise when it looked like things could go in the wrong direction quickly.

Credit Jimbo Fisher for whatever he said to Winston at halftime. I saw him grab Jameis' facemask during a timeout in Gainesville against Florida and asked him if that was part of their regular relationship.

"Absolutely," he said with a steely-eyed glare. "It's how we communicate."

However that kind of communication translated during the National Championship game obviously worked as the 'Noles finish the season at #1.

And with everybody who's coming back, they could stay there for a while.


Commentary by Sam Kouvaris

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ARCHIVE of The College Weekly Report

01-06-2014 - FSU vs. Team of Destiny
01-05-2014 - Fisher/Malzahn, FSU/Auburn Contrast in Style
01-05-2014 - FSU A Close-Knit Group
01-02-2014 - Jaguars Talking Vs. Doing:
Does Bradley's "Conviction" Mean Jaguars Wins Are On The Way?
12-29-2013 - Decisions to Make: Jaguars Need A Lot
12-23-2013 - Meester's Day
12-22-2013 - Jaguars Don't Have Enough
12-20-2013 - Jaguars: Who Wants To Be Here?
12-19-2013 - Meeter Retires: The REAL Pride of the Jaguars
12-15-2013 - Jaguars: Three Forward One Back
12-06-2013 - Jaguars Beat Texans Again: Learning How to Win
12-01-2013 - Florida/FSU: Different Directions?
11-18-2013 - Jaguars 2nd Half: "Better But Not Good"
11-14-2013 - Locker Room Culture: Off Limits?
11-10-2013 - Jaguars Victory: A Lot More Than Just One Win
11-03-2013 - Do We Worry About Blackmon?
11-02-2013 - Florida/Georgia: It's Never Easy
10-27-2013 - Jaguars in London: Fun & Frustration:Equal Parts of Both
10-26-2013 - Jacksonville's on a Global Stage
10-25-2013 - Shad Khan "Living The Dream"
10-03-2013 - Jaguars Building for the "Distant" Future
09-30-2013 - Jaguars: Not Getting Better Soon
09-23-2013 - Jaguars Results Not Unexpected
09-17-2013 - Jaguars Ups and Downs
09-10-2013 - Not What They Were Expecting
09-07-2013 - Jaguars Give Reason For Hope
08-25-2013 - "Better and Improved": The Jaguars Buzzwords
08-21-2013 - Jaguars 2013: It's Not About Winning
08-12-2013 - Jaguars Assessment: Is "Not Terrible" Fair?
08-01-2013 - Jaguars Camp: No Surprises But Not Routine
07-26-2013 - Gus Bradley's First Camp: "Slow Down!"
07-20-2013 - Big Thinking Khan Style
06-20-2013 - Its Summer, It's Hot, No Kidding!
05-31-2013 - The Ever Expanding "Season"
05-15-2013 - The Players: One Of A Kind
05-01-2013 - Tiger At The Players
05-08-2013 - Jaguars Needs: Everything
04-03-2013 - Golf in North Florida: It is & isn't all about The Players
01-30-2013 - Players Win Games

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