In the first of the semifinal matchups the No. 2 Oregon Ducks (12-1, 9-4 ATS) will face off against the No. 3 Florida State Seminoles (13-0, 3-10 ATS). Kickoff is scheduled for 5:00 EST Thursday, January 1 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadenaand will be televised on ESPN. Oddsmakers currently have Oregon listed as a 9.5-point favorite with the total set at 71 points.
Oregon secured it’s spot in the playoffs with a convincing 51-13 win over Arizona in the Pac-12 Championship Game, which was the only team to beat the Ducks during the regular season. Florida State on the other hand held on for a 37-35 victory over Georgia Tech in the ACC Championship Game, extending their winning streak to 29 games.
Early Lean on Oregon -9.5
This may seem like a lot of points to be laying against a team that hasn’t lost since December of 2012, but I look for Florida State’s magical run to come to an end. While the Seminoles have shown that they have a way of winning close games, I’m not expecting Florida State to have a chance for any late game heroics against the Ducks. I’m completely fine with the fact that the Seminoles got into the playoff due to them being the defending champs and posting a perfect record, but this is not one of the top four teams in the country.
What Oregon in their rematch against Arizona in the Pac-12 Championship Game speaks volumes to how much this team has improved from earlier in the year. The Ducks ougained the Wildcats by a ridiculous 403 yards and it wasn’t just the offense that was dominant. Oregon held a prolific Arizona offense to just 224 yards and 10 first downs. The same Wildcats offense that put up 495 yards on 29 first downs in that shocking 31-24 win at Oregon back on Oct. 2.
While I don’t think the Ducks will be able to completely shutdown Jameis Winston and the Florida State offense, I do believe they will be able to contain the Seminoles enough to win here by double-digits.
While I don’t think the Ducks will be able to completely shutdown Jameis Winston and the Florida State offense, I do believe they will be able to contain the Seminoles enough to win here by double-digits. On the other side of the ball, I see Marcus Mariota and the Oregon offense scoring at will against an average at best Florida State defense. The Ducks are going to be reminded constantly in the time leading up to this game about how they have to bury the Seminoles and not give them any hope of some miracle come from behind win. I also look for Oregon’s up-tempo attack to keep Florida State from getting those big stops in the second half that they have needed to win so many games this year.
You also have to take into consideration where this game is being played. Oregon should have a pretty significant home field edge and they also have and advantage with the familiarity of the Rose Bowl. Florida State on the other hand has to travel across the country for a rare game out west.
Another thing that I think is getting overlooked is how this team came out an played in last year’s BCS Championship Game against an Auburn team that has a lot of similarities to Oregon and how they like to attack you on both sides of the ball. Florida State fell behind 3-21 before a ridiculous rally to win 34-31. This year’s Seminoles team is no where close in terms of talent as last year, which is why I look for the Ducks to jump out to a big lead early and coast to an easy win.