EA SPORTS Game Changers are high-profile members of the EA SPORTS community who use their expert knowledge of our games to inform, entertain and assist others. Today's Game Changers blog comes to us from Brian Parker, Senior Associate Editor at GoodGameBro.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Paakaa10.
With college Bowl Season set to begin, we’re taking a look at what this postseason would look like if the College Football Playoff were in place for the top four teams. The #3 Alabama Crimson Tide and #1 Florida State Seminoles have won their respective Semifinal Games and find themselves ready to square off in the College Football Championship game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. This match-up between two of the top teams in the country pits well-balanced offenses and defenses against one another. Can the Tide earn a three-peat and keep the SEC’s national championship streak alive, or will the Seminoles dethrone the SEC and begin the ACC’s era atop college football?
#1 Florida State Ends SEC Title Reign, Outlasts #3 Alabama 35-28 in College Football Championship
Neither team ever truly seized control, and no lead felt safe throughout the course of the College Football Championship Game between the #3 Alabama Crimson Tide and #1 Florida State Seminoles. It wasn’t until CB #20 of FSU pulled down an interception at the Seminoles’ own five-yard-line in the final minute of the game that the Florida State fans and sideline could truly savor the completion of an undefeated season and a championship run.
The game started out as any fan would want a championship game to begin, with both offenses trading blows early in the first quarter. The Seminoles took advantage of their first possession, capping it off with a two-yard run by HB #8 to establish a 7-0 lead. The Crimson Tide responded on a 31-yard screen pass from QB #10 to HB #17 to tie the game before the end of the first quarter.
A true scoring explosion began when Alabama took advantage of its first interception of FSU QB #5 and scored on a 28-yard pass from QB #10 to WR #7 just seconds into the second quarter. The next Seminoles possession also ended in an interception, setting up Alabama for a 45-yard touchdown run by HB #4 and a sudden 21-7 lead on 21 unanswered points.
Florida State settled down and drove on their next possession, culminating with a quick one-yard TD pass from QB #5 to HB #32 to stop the bleeding and cut the deficit to 7 points. On Alabama’s next possession, QB #10 was intercepted by CB #37 and the Seminoles’ defensive back brought the ball 49 yards to the end zone for a defensive score that tied the game 21-21 heading into halftime.
Alabama took advantage of their opening possession of the second half and put together a methodical drive ending with a 21-yard touchdown pass from QB #10 to WR #9 to reclaim the lead, 28-21. Just over a minute later, the Seminoles again tied the game again on the strength of a five-yard pass from QB #5 to HB #32, their second touchdown connection of the game.
The defenses further clamped down to end the third quarter and move on into the fourth, with neither team wanting to make the critical error which would affect the final result. Midway through the final frame, FSU HB #8 found a hole in the line for a two-yard touchdown run to put the Seminoles ahead for the first time, 35-28. Alabama drove into field goal range on their next possession, but a fourth down try fell incomplete. Even though the Tide were able to get one final possession with under a minute left in the game, Alabama QB #10 threw his third interception, ending any chance of an Alabama three-peat.
For a game between two of the top defenses in the league, the bright lights of the College Football Championship seemed to have an effect; Alabama managed 371 yards of offense (65 rushing, 306 passing) while Florida State accumulated 506 yards (185 rushing, 321 passing). In a surprising statistic, Alabama had no red zone attempts in the game, scoring from outside the FSU 20-yard-line on all of their touchdowns. Florida State, meanwhile, went 4-for-5 with four touchdowns and an interception in their red zone visits.
Seminoles HB #8 earned player of the game honors for a 29-carry, 163-yard performance with two touchdowns on the ground. Both quarterbacks ended the game with just about the same quarterback rating; Alabama QB #10 went 21-for-29 for 306 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions, while FSU QB #5 was 20-for-35 for 321 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions.
Alabama SS #3 had a huge game, making 14 tackles and picking off two passes in the losing effort. Florida State CB #37 had the game’s lone defensive touchdown to go along with four tackles and a tackle for loss.
In a debut College Football Playoff which saw a #3 seed upset a #2 seed along the way, in the end #1 still prevailed with the Florida State Seminoles doing just enough to emerge victorious at Rose Bowl Stadium, starting a new era with an ACC victory.
If the Crimson Tide had the benefit of the College Football Playoff to end up in the championship game against Florida State, would they be able to complete the three-peat? Or would Florida State’s unbeaten run continue with the addition of Alabama to the list of defeated opponents in the Seminoles’ season? Tweet us @EANCAAFootball and let us know!
NCAA Football 14 is now available for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Buy your copy today and #PLAYTRUE.