Monday night, the 2013 college football season comes to a close with No. 1 Florida State taking on No. 2 Auburn in the Bowl Championship Series national championship game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.
The Seminoles, champions of the Atlantic Coast Conference, have been at or near the top of the rankings all season long, compiling a 13-0 record.
FSU's defensive unit has been stout all season. They are the NCAA's top scoring defense, giving up an average of 10.7 points per game.
In the 15-year history of the Bowl Championship Series, Florida State has made three appearances (in the first three championship games), winning once in 1999. The Seminoles also captured the 1993 national championship. Monday will be their fourth BCS game.
For Southeastern Conference champion Auburn, Monday night's contest marks the return of the Tigers to the championship game for the second time in four years. Back in 2011, Cam Newton, another Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, led Auburn to the national title over Oregon following the 2010 regular season.
Newton's offensive coordinator in that game, Gus Malzahn, is now Auburn's head coach, bringing the Tigers back to national prominence.
The man who keys Auburn's offense is junior college transfer Nick Marshall at quarterback, who has led them to a 12-1 mark.
The Tigers were quietly working their way up the polls until they reached the penultimate game Nov. 16 against Georgia. Down by a point late in the fourth quarter, Tigers wide receiver Ricardo Louis caught a tipped pass from Marshall, completing a 73-yard scoring reception to win the game. That win raised Auburn's national profile.
Two weeks later, Auburn was looking at a possible loss to rival Alabama as Crimson Tide kicker Adam Griffith lined up what could have been a game-winning field goal. However, the kick was short and run back by Chris Davis 109 yards for the winning touchdown as time ran out.
One matchup to watch will be the running attack of Auburn versus Florida State's rush defense. The Tigers led all NCAA Division 1 football schools in rushing this season, averaging over 335 yards per game. The Seminoles defense ranked 13th in the nation against the run at just over 116 yards per game allowed.
Monday night's game also marks the end of the Bowl Championship Series. Starting next season, a new playoff system will debut, where schools will be chosen to participate. The final two teams that survive will compete for the national championship.
College football fans can only hope that the final BCS championship game has half the excitement of those two fantastic Auburn finishes. The Florida State-Auburn title game will be televised on ESPN, beginning at 8:30 p.m. Eastern time.