NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — Christian Jones has come down with an illness affecting a wide swath of the country.
Simply put, Florida State’s senior linebacker is suffering from SEC fatigue.
Yes, he’s tired of hearing about the league that has won seven consecutive BCS titles. Make that eight should Auburn win Monday night.
It’s gotten to the point that Jones says the constant discussion of the SEC’s dominance has become downright annoying.
“I feel like we have some good teams in the ACC, too, and I feel like in the past those teams stepped up and showed that in bowl games,” he said during a media appearance Thursday. “Clemson last year beating LSU, that was a big game for them to win. But a team from the SEC goes to the national championship every year, so they get (some) credit. But there are other teams out there that can play football, (too).”
Make no mistake: If the Seminoles are the team that ends the SEC’s stranglehold on the crystal football, Jones said he would cherish it forever.
“That's going to make us proud to do something like that — beat a team from SEC — especially a team that beat Bama, the top dogs,” he said. “So it would be special for us.”
Jones didn’t speak for all of his teammates, however.
Lamarcus Joyner wasn't caught up in the fact Auburn hails from the SEC. All that matters to him is that Florida State is in position to capture its first national championship since 1999.
“I don't look at it as, ‘We must stop the SEC.’ I look at it as we must win,” the senior cornerback said. “Our opponent has no face.”
The Tigers only wish that were true.
They know the SEC’s national title streak is on the line next week.
They also don't care.
“We're worried about ourselves,” tight end C.J. Uzomah said. “We want to win this for us and the Auburn community and those that stuck with us from last year to now.”
Still, the run of success is a mark of pride for the conference.
How important is the streak to fellow conference members?
The Tigers say they have heard words of encouragement from their most bitter rival.
"Last year I was rooting for Alabama because I wanted to see the SEC win (and) I talked to some players on their team and I think they're rooting for us," center Reese Dismukes said. "I think it's kind of an SEC thing."
Of course, that doesn't mean Dismukes believes every fan who bleeds crimson will be cheering for Auburn when Monday arrives.
"The Harvey Updykes of the world are going to be rooting for Florida State," he said. "But I think all the people that like watching football and like the dominance of the SEC and being in the SEC will be rooting for us. But of course you're going to have those people that poison trees that don't like us."
If Florida State's — and to a lesser extent, Updyke's — dreams come true, Jay Prosch said he wouldn't lose any sleep over it. No, it won't bother him if he has to hear about being the SEC team unable to keep the BCS title streak alive.
Then again, the senior fullback hasn't really given losing much thought as it is.
"I'm not thinking about failure," he said. "I feel like I'm very confident in my teammates and myself and I think we've had an outstanding year. I don't see any reason why we can't continue that."