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Oregon-Florida State Rose Bowl Looks Like Potential Shootout

December 31, 2014

The first-ever College Football Playoff game takes place Jan. 1 with a 5 p.m. ET kickoff at the Rose Bowl when No. 2 Oregon faces defending national champion and No. 3 Florida State. It’s a matchup for the ages as Heisman winners Marcus Mariota of the Ducks and Jameis Winston of the Seminoles square off in what should be an offensive extravaganza. Oregon is a 9-point WagerWeb favorite with a total of 72 that’s the highest of any bowl game this year.

Mariota was a runaway winner of this year’s Heisman Trophy and Winston’s win last year wasn’t very close. This will be only the third time that a pair of Heisman winners have faced each other in the postseason.  The most recent matchup between a pair of Heisman winners was six years ago when 2007 Heisman winner Tim Tebow led Florida to a 24-14 victory over 2008 winner Sam Bradford, and the Oklahoma Sooners, for the 2008 national championship. The only duel between previous Heisman winners came at the end of the 2005 season when 2004 Heisman-winning quarterback Matt Leinart and USC beat 2003 Heisman winner Jason White and the Sooners, 55-19, for the 2005 title.

Oregon (12-1) has to be thankful for the College Football Playoff because if this had still been the old BCS system, the Ducks would be watching Florida State and Alabama square off for the national title. Mariota also won the AP Player of the Year honors. The junior has also won the Maxwell Award and Walter Camp player of the year, and the Davey O’Brien and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which go to the top quarterbacks in the country. He set a Pac-12 record by accounting for 53 touchdowns, including 38 TD passes. He is the highest-rated passer in the country (186.33) and has thrown for 3,783 yards and just two interceptions.

Winston’s numbers weren’t quite up to his unbelievable freshman season but he still completed 65.4 percent of his passes for 3,559 yards, 24 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. His rating was 147.0 compared to a national-best 184.8 a year ago. Winston has struggled in several games in the first half this season but then shined in the second half as FSU has staged several late rallies to be the only unbeaten team in the nation. Florida State (13-0) has seven wins this year by six points or fewer including its past four. Oregon has won eight straight by double digits.

The Ducks and Seminoles have never played.

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