CAN MAGIC OVERCOME a preponderance of athletic talent? Anyone who watched Auburn's Iron Bowl win against Alabama would say yes, but this season—as crazy as it may sound—Alabama is no Florida State. The Seminoles have the fewest weaknesses of any team in the country. Their offense averages 7.8 yards a play (best in the nation), and their defense allows only 4.0 yards (second). Florida State has Heisman Trophy--winning quarterback Jameis Winston (3,820 yards, 38 touchdowns) throwing to three excellent receivers, any one of whom would be the top guy on about 110 teams. The Seminoles were so deep at safety that they moved 5'8" senior Lamarcus Joyner to cornerback and 6'1" junior Karlos Williams to tailback (where he averages 8.2 yards a carry). Auburn has an excellent offensive line, and the playmaking abilities of 5'10" junior tailback Tre Mason and 6'1" junior quarterback Nick Marshall will ensure that the game remains close. But the Tigers' defense tends to give up big plays—it allowed more "explosive" drives (an average of at least 10 yards per play) than 92 other teams—and that will be exploited by a Florida State offense with a plethora of weapons.
FLORIDA STATE 34, AUBURN 27
BILL FRAKES/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED
SHOW'S OVER Winston and the Seminoles have more than enough talent to counteract any magic Auburn might have left.