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The Auburn-Alabama game, another bastion of old-time, grind-it-out football, was a 34-28 blockbuster this season, capped by arguably the most memorable play in the sport’s history _ Chris Davis’ 109-yard return of a missed field goal with no time left in regulation.

That was once-in-a-lifetime.

Some of these other 2013 final scores are simply routine:

_Duke 58, Pittsburgh 55

_Arizona State 62, USC 41

_SMU 55, Rutgers 52

The list goes on. It cuts across virtually all the big conferences, led by the Pac-12, where teams averaged 33.5 points a game this season _ 6.5 more than they did only five years ago. That’s an increase of 24 percent.

“It’s kind of like fast-break basketball when you’re playing football and get the ball in the playmaker’s hands,” said Charlie Strong, coach of a Louisville team that ranks fourth in the country in points allowed. “They’re looking for mismatches and it’s what you do on offense. Now it’s a mismatched game, so get the ball to your best player’s hand and let him see if he can go make a guy miss just defensively.”

Over the 30 bowl games played through Thursday night’s Sugar Bowl (Final: Oklahoma 45, Alabama 31), Louisville was one of only four teams to hold its opponent to single digits.

Auburn will come into the title game ranked a mediocre 38th in points allowed (24 per game) and a downright bad 88th in yards allowed (423.5).

“We have got terrible-looking overall statistics and some of them are not misleading,” Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson said. “But we make critical stops at critical times and we’re good on third and fourth down percentage and good in the red zone and good in the fourth quarter.”

Though offense has been slowly, steadily taking over the game for decades, some suggest the most recent uptick originates with Chip Kelly, whose offense at Oregon, at its peak in 2010, averaged 49 points a game. Kelly got snapped up by the Philadelphia Eagles before this season and, in a turnaround from decades past, many an NFL coach is now looking to the college game to find new wrinkles in offense.

The Broncos and Peyton Manning set an NFL record with 606 points this season in part because of a rapid-moving offense that warbles between fast and warp speed.

“I think guys are willing to experiment and then I also think with technology you’re also able to get and watch college games,” Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase said. “If you see something you like, you can go pull it up with the click of a button. That’s, to me, a big difference. There’s more crossover, not just people, but ideas.”

Auburn comes into the title game averaging 40 per game, while Florida State puts up 53. Despite FSU’s stout defense, those gaudy numbers are the reason oddsmakers are predicting a game with a final score at around 38-30.

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