The Rose Bowl between Florida State and Oregon features two electric offenses. Jameis Winston and the defending national champion Seminoles will take on Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariotta and the Ducks.
While the Seminoles are known for many trips to the end zone, the key to victory rests on the shoulders of the defense. The Seminoles must pressure Mariota and challenge him to make tough decisions. They must get to him three seconds after every snap to have a notable chance of victory. Florida State is ranks 60th in rush defense giving up 160.1 yards per game. Their pass defense ranks slightly higher giving up 218.2 yards per game.
If Mariota gets into a groove early on, the Seminoles will be in a deep, early hole that they may not dig themselves out of. That’s a far cry from saying the Seminoles will be finished at that point as Winston is capable of ensuring Florida State has a chance to win.
However, this not Georgia Tech they’re playing. Florida State must make the game a miserable experience for Mariota and the high-flying Oregon Ducks. They must force incompletions, interceptions, and fumbles. They must get as many big hits as possible and make the Ducks cough up the football. The Seminoles must win the turnover battle and keep the time of possession in their favor.
The best offensive plan for Florida State is to play keep away. Should the Seminoles get the ball first or stop Oregon from scoring on the first possession of the game, they need to run a very slow-paced offense. That may be considered an anomaly for Florida State considering they can score at will very quickly. However, the Ducks can do the same thing.
The last thing Florida State needs to do is make this game a last possession effort to win.
The winner of the Rose Bowl advances to the National Championship to face the winner of the Sugar Bowl between Alabama and Ohio State.