Besides, heading into the game, for me, there wasn’t much doubt about who would win. Given how Auburn’s season went, I was pretty sure they would return a blocked extra point for two-points and a win (or some such nonsense as that).
The other thing was the Jameis Winston stuff. Sure, no charges were pressed, but it’s hard to pull for a guy involved in that type of situation.
So, with all that in mind, here are my few thoughts on the game:
* Florida State’s cushy season did little to prepare them for Auburn’s first half onslaught. The Seminoles were a more talented team than Auburn, but their soft ACC schedule did them no favors.
* Apparently Auburn forget their little one-second lesson from the Iron Bowl and forgot to play a full 60 minutes. No, I’m not just talking about the final drive. What cost Auburn the game was not putting away the ‘Noles in the third quarter. One more score of any sort would have done the trick.
* Tre Mason should turn pro. (Please.) All kidding aside, running backs have a short shelf life and he should be paid for his efforts. In this day and age, it really was unheard of for Mason to run the ball 40+ times like he did in the SEC Championship Game. Get the picture, son.
* Despite giving up 21 first half points, the ‘Noles didn’t have a bad game plan. A tip of the hat to Jeremy Pruitt is due. The Seminoles were aggressive, physical and pressured Nick Marshall. If the FSU offense could have provided any sort of sustained drives in the first two quarters, it sure would have helped their defense.
* Alabama – despite losing two games this year and not making the title game – still casts a huge shadow over college football. Nick Saban held court on the ESPN set – pre and post game – and everything either team did was compared to the Tide.
* Given Winston’s success this year – national title and Heisman – he’ll be easy for the public to root against next year. And mark it down, next year will be his last in Tallahassee. As a redshirt freshman, he only has to play one more year before he can enter the NFL draft. Enjoy him while you can, FSU.
* Maybe Winston did nothing wrong. Maybe. But given his legal troubles from earlier this season, Jimbo Fisher’s post-game comments about the character of his team rang hollow.
* Don’t be surprised if these two teams enter the 2014 season ranked 1-2. FSU is as talented as ‘Bama. With Winston coming back and given their easy ACC ride, they should definitely start No. 1. Auburn will probably lose Mason and a couple of offensive linemen, will get better talent on defense and Jeremy Johnson will push Marshall at QB. The schedule won’t do the Tigers any favors, but they are a good team and Gus Malzahn is a good coach, so they aren’t going anywhere for a while.
One final question to ponder. Does it hurt worse to lose to your bitter rival on the last play of the game – a fluke play – or does it hurt worse to lose the national championship in the last minute? I’m guessing the latter.