After going undefeated and winning the national championship last year, No.3 Florida State (13-0, 8-0 ACC) is looking to do the same thing this season. It will be even more difficult in 2015 for the Seminoles, who have to win two games in the inaugural College Football Playoff, starting with a matchup against No.2 Oregon (12-1, 8-1 Pac-12) in the Rose Bowl.
Florida State has not lost a game since Nov. 24, 2012, but there’s a strong possibility that the Seminoles will come up short on New Year’s Day. Oregon is a heavy favorite in Thursday’s game, having won eight games in a row.
Since the start of the 2010 season, the Ducks have been one of the most dominant teams in college football. Oregon has compiled a record of 59-6, never losing more than two games in a season. The team has made one national title appearance during this current span, losing to Cam Newton and Auburn on Jan. 10, 2011.
Oregon has been successful in their last three bowl games, winning the 2012 Rose Bowl, the 2013 Fiesta Bowl and last year’s Alamo Bowl. Florida State has been victorious in their last six bowl game appearances.
The winner of the Rose Bowl will go on to face either Alabama or Ohio State in the national championship game. The Crimson Tide would be favored over either opponent, while the Buckeyes might be underdogs against Oregon or Florida State.
All eyes will be on Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston, who were named the last two Heisman Trophy winners and are known as the top quarterbacks in college football. Fans of NFL teams like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans and New York Jets might especially be interested in the contest, since they are all candidates to select a quarterback near the top of the 2015 NFL Draft.
Mariota and Winston aren’t the only playmakers to watch in the Rose Bowl. Oregon running back Royce Freeman led the team in 2014 with 1,299 yards on 5.6 yards per carry and 16 touchdowns. He rushed for over 100 yards in six of his final eight games. Winston’s favorite target, Rashad Greene, is among the best wide receivers in the country. His 93 receptions and 1,306 receiving yards rank in the top 10 this season.
The higher ranked team has won the Rose Bowl in the each of the last four years, including Oregon’s 2012 victory over Wisconsin. All four of those games were decided by one score.
Start Time: 5 p.m. ET
TV Channel: ESPN
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Point Spread: Oregon favored by 8 points
Over/Under: 71.5 points
Prediction: Oregon over Florida State, 41-38