Destiny, history and a crystal football


PASADENA, Calif. -- The final game of the BCS era (or error, take your pick) isn't about the legacy of a rusted, obsolete national title mechanism.

Or about SEC fatigue.

Or about whose NFL draft stock is enhanced or kneecapped.

It isn't about the supposed next football genius of the moment, or the next leveraged contract, or the trickle-down effect of a win or loss on next month's national signing day.

Instead, this VIZIO BCS National Championship, perhaps more than any championship game in recent memory, is about the journey. Seriously, have two teams ever followed a stranger set of football GPS directions than Auburn and Florida State?

The No. 1-ranked Seminoles asked Siri for directions to 1001 Rose Bowl Drive and here's how she got them there:

• Head north to Pittsburgh, Pa., and start a relative unknown redshirt freshman quarterback named Jameis Winston. Then watch Jameis become Famous as he completes 25 of 27 passes for 356 yards and four touchdowns, plus adds another TD run to his college playing debut.

• Return to Tallytown, chow down on a few frosted cupcakes (Nevada and Bethune-Cookman) and proceed directly to Chestnut Hill, Mass. Then, trail Boston College 17-3, before removing the governor switch on the blowout. Final score: FSU 48, BC 34.

• Tenderize Maryland at home. Humiliate Clemson at Death Valley. Score 35 points in the first quarter against NC State to improve to 7-0 for the season. Stop to tell everyone that the last time you were 7-0 was in 1999 -- the same season FSU won a national championship.

• Proceed directly to Winston-Salem, N.C., and record six interceptions in a 59-3 win against Wake Forest.

• Take a detour as news surfaces that Winston is at the center of an ongoing investigation dealing with a sexual assault complaint filed in December 2012.

• As a mushroom cloud of controversy and conjecture envelops Winston and the investigation, beat Syracuse by 56, Idaho by 66 and Florida by 30.

• Watch as a giggly state attorney says Winston will not be charged with sexual assault, and then make your way to Charlotte, N.C. -- site of the ACC championship and, as it turns out, a 45-7 defeat of Duke.

• Send Winston to New York for Heisman Trophy acceptance speech.

• Head west to Southern California as nearly double-digit favorites in the title game -- which figures, since FSU is only 28 points away from setting an FBS record for points scored in a season.

Of course, Florida State's trip seems like a shortcut compared to what the Tigers overcame. FSU flew charter out here; Auburn needed angels' wings.

First of all, the Tigers were such a 2013 non-factor to start that exactly nobody in either the AP or USA Today preseason polls thought to include Auburn. Arkansas, which finished with an SEC o-fer, ended up on an August ballot, but not Auburn.

So the Tigers took the scenic route. What a ride.

• Hire Gus Malzahn, who just eight years ago was coaching at Springdale (Ark.) High School. Point offense toward Hurryupville.

• Name juco transfer (and former Georgia Bulldogs cornerback) Nick Marshall as your starting quarterback. Marshall was such a newcomer that he didn't even get his mug shot in the 2013 Auburn media guide.

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