NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — Nick O’Leary has heard.
• About Auburn and its destiny.
• About seven straight BCS titles by the SEC.
• About why Alabama isn’t here.
• About how you wish you were (the weather).
• About miracles and prayers and Jordan Hares.
What the Florida State tight end has hasn’t heard enough about is his team. The nation’s No. 1 team is the fourth- or fifth-best storyline on the eve of the 16th and final BCS title game.
And a scruffy-bearded grandson of Jack Nicklaus has heard enough.
“I think people just underestimate us,” O’Leary said. “Just because we come from the ACC, [the perception is] we didn’t have as tough a schedule as Auburn. I think they’re underestimating us way too much.”
The best team has been overtaken by the best story (or stories). Well, here is the story: The nation’s only undefeated team wears Garnet and Gold. Only two opponents have been within four touchdowns of FSU all season. Twenty-eight more points and the Noles will establish the modern season record for scoring in a season. The defense has given up the fewest average points nationally.
And that’s without mentioning a certain Heisman Trophy winner. Florida State is Blowouts R Us. Somehow the fact that has been accomplished in the Not SEC — aka the ACC — has overlooked the obvious:
Isn’t this what we traditionally expect of FSU?
“[They’re] thinking they’re going to run the ball down our defense’s throat,” O’Leary said of Auburn. “There’s no way they’re going to do it to our defense.
“Our offense has been unstoppable all year. … I don’t know if they’ll be able to stop our offense. You can’t compare anything when…