The time is finally here. After plenty of meaningless bowl games, the first college football playoff commences at the Rose Bowl in California. In our first semi-final game, the mighty Oregon Ducks take on the resilient Florida State Seminoles. FSU is coming off a season where they won the national championship, dispatching Auburn in the finals last season. However, this Florida State team is demanding no respect from anybody. No one is giving them much of a chance, everyone thinks their time has come and gone, and looking at the line so did the lines makers. The Seminoles, who are undefeated at 13-0, are entering this game as 7.5 point underdogs against Oregon. Huh? Undefeated team getting 7.5 points, it looks too good to be true. The Seminoles escaped on many occasions this season, including squeakers against extremely inferior opponents. The media and public alike think this is the most overrated team in the country. So, the lines makers put out a big spread for an Oregon team that has a Heisman award winner on their side, quarterback Marcus Mariota.
This playoff game features the two previous Heisman winners, the other is on the opposite of Oregon, Jameis Winston. Two very talented quarterbacks that will have a chance to excel on Sunday’s will be thrust into the spotlight today on New Years Day. Winston comes into the Rose Bowl after an off-season and regular season of extreme distractions off the field. First there was the sexual assault investigation, then he stole crab lags from a supermarket, and then in in another incident he yelled an obscenity on campus on top of a table. I know I am probably forgetting something, but that about sums up the season Winston has had. On the field he’s been up and down. At the end of the day FSU is undefeated with a chance to win another national championship, however. He hasn’t played bad, just hasn’t taken over games like he did a year ago. If you want to find a guy that has taken over games look no further than Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. All eyes will be on Winston and Mariota at 5:00 EST today. Let’s find a winner out of it.
Florida State vs. Oregon Spread and Betting Odds:
Florida State +7.5(-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Florida State vs. Oregon Pick:
The problem with Florida State this season really hasn’t been the offense despite Winston not looking like the 2013 version. They’ve been scoring points at will with a balanced attack on the ground and air. The Florida State Seminoles defense took some serious steps back from last season, though. FSU could completely control a game on defense during their championship run from last season. Gaining yards on the ground against their defensive line was a tough task. This year teams are finding it easy to find rushing yards. And while Oregon is feared for what Mariota can do with his arm, Oregon is even more dangerous on the ground. They go fast, fast. Georgia Tech trucked Florida State over on the ground with ease. In 2014 the Seminoles were 60th in the country, allowing an average of 161 yards per game. They also give up big plays through the air, as their 12.78 yards per play indicates. That is 100th in college football. FSU will have to contend with an Oregon offense that scores 46.31 points per game, 3rd in the nation. The last time Oregon scored less than 40 points in a game was nine games ago against Arizona.
The Oregon Ducks will be without a key defender in their secondary in this game, which is something Jameis Winston and the FSU offense should be able to take advantage of. I am talking about their best corner back Ifo Ekpre-Olumu. Expect to see Ekpre-Olumu to be making plays in the NFL, he is one of the best corners in all of college football. His loss is a big one. The defense wasn’t all that great to begin with mind you. Oregon can be beat if you can keep up with their offense. The Ducks are among the worst teams in the country defending the pass, letting opposing teams an average of 260 yards per game, 103th. They are also 121 in pass completions per game. I like Winston to take care of this hole. They couldn’t defend the pass without one of the best defenders, so how are they going to fair against the FSU offense without him? I think this game turns into an up and down affair from one field to the other. Points should come easily with these offenses. I’ll be on the OVER 71 for the first ever college football playoff game.
PICK: OVER 71 POINTS (-110)