FSU vs. Auburn BCS National Championship: Instant Classic
For all of the controversies and idiotic things the BCS has given us in its 16 years of existence, it made up for it in their final championship game before next year's four team playoff starts. No. 1 Florida State and No. 2 Auburn had all of the makings of an epic showdown and storyline after storyline to keep us fans talking, and boy, did it deliver Monday night.
Heisman trophy winner and Florida State quarterback, Jameis Winston turned 20 years old Monday (think about that for a second and let it sink in how incredible Winston is now) and by the end of the night, it was either going to be the best birthday he will ever have or the worst birthday he will ever had, ending with tears.
Well, happy birthday, Jameis….
and happy birthday to us!
What a gift it was to watch Monday's game, especially to those fans in attendance at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Florida State, the ACC champions, entered the National Championship being the nation's only undefeated team and making their fourth BCS title game appearance while seeking their first championship since 1999. Auburn, the 'cardiac cats,' came into the game as a team of destiny after miracle finishes to beat Georgia and Alabama. The SEC champion Tigers were making their second BCS appearance and doing everything they could to keep the SEC's streak of seven straight national championships alive.
After Florida State settled for a field goal on their first drive, Auburn's rushing attack of Tre Mason and Nick Marshall were proving to be too much for the Seminoles. After a Mason score, a 50 yard pass, and a Marshall 4 yard touchdown run, Florida State found themselves trailing 21-3 late in the first half. The Auburn side of the stadium was chanting "SEC-SEC-SEC" and FSU fans were silent. The Seminoles had not trailed an opponent since September. The critics and SEC fans looked to be right. Maybe they couldn't handle the SEC? Then the momentum shifted.
My personal photo from Monday night's BCS National Championship at the Rose Bowl:
After the offense stalled yet again, FSU faced a 4th and 4 on their 40 yard line and sent out the punt team. Florida State coach, Jimbo Fisher, sensing he had to do something to change their fortunes, called a fake punt run to Karlos Williams that resulted in the first down. The crowd was alive and the drive was capped off with a Devonta Freeman touchdown. It was 21-10
Meanwhile, Florida State made some adjustments and shut down the Auburn offense in the third quarter and heading into the final 15 minutes of the season, Florida State trailed 13-21. After a Nick Marshall pass was intercepted by Florida State's P.J. Williams. Jameis Winston, who had been quiet all night long, hit Chad Abram with an 11 yard touchdown pass to make it 21-20. Auburn marched down the field with a Cody Parkey field goal to make it 24-20 with 4:42 remaining.
Auburn would kick off to FSU's Levonte Whitfield who took it 100 yards for the score to give Florida State the lead, 27-24. The crowd went berserk. Auburn fans could see it was slipping away.
Auburn wouldn't go away easily. Tre Mason would bulldoze his way to a 37 yard touchdown run and celebrated with a Heisman pose in the endzone (too soon, buddy).
Auburn lead 31-27 with 1:19 to go. Florida State fans were stunned. Could they be the next victim in this miracle season?
Cue 'Famous Jameis.'
The freshmen quarterback would get the ball for one last drive at a chance to cap off his remarkable season with a national championship. Its what kids dream about and what legends are made of. Winston would go 6-of-7 on pass attempts — the big one being a pass that went for a 49 yard gain to Rashad Greene. A few plays later, facing a 3rd and 8 at the Auburn 10 yard line, Auburn's miracle 'field goal returner', Chris Davis, would be called for pass interference in the endzone. One play later, with 17 seconds left, Winston dropped pack and lobbed a jump ball to the endzone where wide out, Kelvin Benjamin snatched it and came down with the winning score. Florida State had just won the national championship.
Humorously, Florida State fans could be heard chanting "ACC! ACC! ACC!"
Florida State had to win this amazing championship game. They just had to! Everything was lined up for this story to be told. The first BCS championship game featured the ACC vs. SEC. Florida State played and lost in that game. It is only fitting that the BCS ends with a ACC vs. SEC match-up and Florida State to be there as well. It is only fitting that the SEC, the bully of college football, be punched in the mouth and taken down for the sake of college football. Could you imagine hearing SEC fans and ESPN for yet another year, go on and on about their dominance of college football and how no one else matters? I couldn't.
This game was our Rocky Balboa beating Apollo Creed to the 10 count in Rocky II. Everyone will remember watching that game. Everyone will look back fondly with the emotional roller-coaster that occurred the final five minutes. This is the game you tell your grand kids about….about the time you saw that freshmen quarterback, down in Tallahassee, carry a team on his back in the 'grandaddy of them all' and win a championship at the last second. I know I will.
So Congrats, Seminoles
Happy Birthday, Jameis
And thank you, BCS
Joshua Caudill is a writer for CraveOnline Sports, a surfing enthusiast, a college sports fanatic, and an expert on all things Patrick Swayze. You can follow him on @JoshuaCaudill85 or "like"CraveOnline Sports on Facebook.
Photo Credit: (top) Getty