(2) Oregon Ducks vs. (3) Florida State Seminoles
Thursday – January 1 – 4:00 pm
Rose Bowl – Pasadena
Florida State is coming off what was a tough and hard fought 37-35 win over Georgia Tech in the ACC Championship game. It was a game that featured them having some rough patches on both sides of the ball as they were sloppy in terms of their execution and what the Yellow Jackets were trying to do at times.
To their credit though, they fought through the adversity and once again found a way to win the game and hold off Georgia Tech right at the end. Jameis Winston though not at his best, managed to throw for 309 yards and three touchdown passes to help his Seminoles fend off the Yellow Jackets. It was a perfect microcosm of their season which was filled with tight games and that they needed a big fourth quarter from both sides of the ball to secure victory.
People questioned just how good they were and if they even deserved to get into the first ever College Football Playoff in the first place. No mater what you think of them, they won all the games that were put in front of them and no other team in the sport could say that when the regular season and conference championship games wrapped up.
Oregon was able to avenge an early season home loss at the hands of the Arizona Wildcats by defeating that very team in a 51-13 rout in the Pac-12 championship game.
Marcus Mariota, who started slow in that game, heated up in the second half and showcased why he eventually went onto win the Heisman Trophy. Mariota accounted for five total touchdowns (2 passing, 3 rushing) to put the game on ice for his team.
The game was one of many during the regular season where Oregon just took the will out of their opponents with their fast tempo offense and ability to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks with their defensive line.
They did experience offensive line issues at the beginning of the season due to a rash of injuries to that unit but found a combination that worked and limited Mariota in the number of sacks he took and helped the Ducks offense get on track.
Their defense was a unit that took a lot of heat early on with the amount of yards and points they were giving up. As with the offense, the defense made great strides and became a more consistent group that was able to get critical stops when needed.
This game looks to be one that will be high scoring and decided by which defense can generate an extra turnover or two. Both defenses are aggressive in their play and that could payoff in this game, especially with the layoff both offenses will be coming off of. No one has been able to finish off Florida State this season and I do not think that changes. I think Florida State wins 37-34.