Rose Bowl preview: Expect a shootout?
3:01 | College Football
Rose Bowl preview: Expect a shootout?
Wednesday December 31st, 2014

The last two Heisman Trophy winners will try to lead their respective teams to a berth in the national championship game when quarterback Marcus Mariota and the Oregon Ducks square off against fellow signal-caller Jameis Winston and the Florida State Seminoles in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day.

Mariota won the Heisman this year after leading the Ducks to the No. 2 seed in the inaugural College Football Playoff, and they are consensus nine-point favorites over the defending national champion Seminoles at sportsbooks monitored by The Rose Bowl winner will play the winner of the Sugar Bowl for the national title at AT&T Stadium on Jan. 12.

Florida State is the lone unbeaten team of the four semifinalists yet heads into Pasadena as the No. 3 seed due in part to a weak schedule compared to the other three. The Seminoles have won 29 games in a row but have covered the spread in just three of their past 14, including last year’s 34-31 victory against the Auburn Tigers as 10.5-point favorites in the BCS Championship Game.

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Florida State is coming off a 37-35 win over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the ACC title game, again falling short of the spread as 3.5-point chalk. Winston has 17 interceptions this season compared to 10 a year ago, while throwing 23 touchdown passes instead of the 40 in 2013 that ranked second in the nation and helped him win the Heisman.

Mariota has tossed 38 touchdown passes this season and only two picks, leading Oregon to an eight-game winning streak both straight-up and against the spread since losing 31-24 to the Arizona Wildcats on Oct. 2. The college football odds had the Ducks closing as 21.5-point home favorites in that first meeting with the Wildcats. They avenged that setback by pummeling Arizona, 51-13, as 14.5-point chalk in the Pac-12 championship game on Dec. 5. Oregon has won its past eight games by an average margin of 26 points, scoring 42 or more in each victory during that stretch.

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The Ducks have performed well in recent bowl matchups, going 3-0 SU and ATS since losing the 2011 BCS Championship Game, 22-19, to Heisman-winning quarterback Cam Newton’s Auburn squad as one-point underdogs. The Seminoles have been even better in bowl season lately, winning six bowl games in a row to go along with a 5-0-1 mark against the line.

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