The Seminoles are looking for their third national championship and first since the 1999 season. Florida State can also become the third team in FBS history to win each of its games by at least 14 points, joining Utah in 2004 and Nebraska's 1995 national championship team. The Tigers are trying for their third national title and second in the last four seasons. They can also run the SEC's national title streak to eight.
Florida State WR Kelvin Benjamin vs. Auburn's cornerbacks. Benjamin has a little Megatron in him. The sophomore is 6-foot-5 and 234 pounds. None of the cornerbacks can match up with him physically. The four listed on the depth chart range from 5-10 to 6-feet tall. Chris Davis is the best of the bunch.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Florida State: QB Jameis Winston. The Heisman Trophy-winning redshirt freshman can set an NCAA record for passing efficiency rating with another big game. He comes in with a rating of 190.05. The record is held by Russell Wilson (191.8). All-America CB Lamarcus Joyner leads the defense. He's small, 5-8 and 190, but versatile. He leads the Seminoles with five sacks.
Auburn: RB Tre Mason. A Heisman finalist, he ran for 1,621 yards and 22 touchdowns, and finished with a bang. He ran for 304 yards in the Southeastern Conference championship game against Missouri.
FACTS & FIGURES
Florida State can set an NCAA record for points in the season with 28 more. Oklahoma set the record in 2008 with 716. ... Auburn is the second team since the AP college football poll expanded to 25 teams in 1989 to play three consecutive top-five teams. The Tigers beat No. 1 Alabama and No. 5 Missouri to get here. Colorado did it in 2001, but only won the first two. ... Auburn is the first ream to reach the BCS title game after having a losing season the year before and can become the first team to start the season unranked and win a national title since 1984 BYU. ... Auburn leads the nation in rushing at 335 yards per game, is third in yards per rush at 6.46 and third in rushing touchdowns with 46. Florida State has allowed only five rushing touchdowns, fewest in the nation, and 3.14 yards per carry (sixth best nationally). ... Florida State ranks in the top three in the country in 11 statistical categories, including second in scoring (53 points per game) and first in points allowed (10.7 ppg). ... Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher is in his fourth season leading the Seminoles. He is 44-10 in his first head coaching job, including 3-0 in bowls. ... Auburn coach Gus Malzahn is in his first season with the Tigers. In his one season as Arkansas State coach, he went 9-3 and won the Sun Belt championship.
There will be a funeral amid the celebration after the BCS championship game.
The winner will be the last team to hoist the $30,000 Waterford crystal football that goes to college football’s champion and has become emblematic of the Bowl Championship Series.
Then the BCS will be buried in the Rose Bowl after 16 years of revolutionizing the sport — and frustrating so many of its fans and participants.
‘‘We wouldn’t have a playoff if we didn’t have the BCS,’’ BCS executive director Bill Hancock said Saturday during media day for the championship game.
In the end, the BCS turned out to be not a destination for college football’s postseason but part of its evolution.
Even one of its harshest critics concedes it did some good.
‘‘It’s better than what we had, but it should have lasted four years, not 16,’’ said Yahoo! Sports writer Dan Wetzel, who wrote the book ‘‘Death to the BCS.’’
The goal of the BCS was to take a bowl system that rarely matched the top two teams after the season and give it a structure that would produce 1 vs. 2 every season.
Before the BCS, there were 11 bowl games in college football history that matched the Nos. 1 and 2 teams in the Associated Press poll. The BCS produced three such matchups in the first six seasons. There was even a split championship in 2003, when Southern Cal finished No. 1 in the AP poll but didn’t reach the BCS title game, which LSU won.
The LSU/USC controversy was followed a season later when the BCS’s simple, fatal flaw was exposed. What happens when there are three worthy teams for a game built for two? Undefeated Auburn was the odd team out among perfect USC and Oklahoma. At that point many fans were in revolt and the BCS became an easy target for its detractors.
Wetzel’s book came out in 2010 and it challenged everything about the BCS from how it picked the teams to where the money went.
With momentum building for change, the last crack that made the BCS crumble came after the 2012 season, when the national championship game matched two SEC teams: Alabama vs. LSU in New Orleans.
The commissioners met a day after the game and started constructing a four-team playoff.
Now that the BCS is about to be laid to rest, as with any funeral, the last word should be something nice about the departed.
‘‘Although it was heavily criticized and misunderstood,’’ said Hancock, ‘‘the BCS did everything it was intended to do and then some.’’