My Winners for Today’s Semifinal Games and More.

Winston
Winston
A win in the Rose Bowl would make Jameis Winston's career record at Florida State 28-0.

Normally a piece like this would be featured in the research area of the website but I’m “blogging” it today because I just have to break down these New Year’s Day games.

Florida State (+8) vs Oregon (O/U 71) – Despite being the only unbeaten team left in college football, the Seminoles are the three-seed in the first-ever college football playoff. Frankly, there’s a couple of reasons for that and those are the relatively weak schedule and the constant need to come from behind against much of that competition.

The Ducks are out to prove a couple of things; first, that they aren’t a finesse team and second, that their Heisman winning QB is better than Florida State’s. While may will make this a game between Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston, I believe the defenses will play a significant role in who advances to the title game.

FSU has struggled defensively compared to last year and that’s giving lots of people reason to lay their money on the Ducks but there is one major concern I have here. Oregon struggles to score touchdowns in the red zone because they tend to go east and west more than north and south and they run out of room near the end zone. Offensive coordinator Scott Frost will need to make proper adjustments there.

Trends: The Ducks are 5-0 straight up in their last five games… Florida State is 1-4 against the spread in their last five games…The total has gone UNDER in four of FSU’s last five games.

The Pick: As badly as I want to take FSU here because of their penchant for comebacks this season, I have a feeling the Ducks are going to run them out of the building with an offensive pace they haven’t seen all year. Take the Ducks to cover and take the OVER.

Jones
The Buckeyes' fortunes will rise or fall behind QB Cardale Jones tonight.

Ohio State (+9) vs Alabama (O/U 58) – Ohio State comes to New Orleans with a team led by a quarterback who has started just one game in his career. Granted, Cardale Jones tore up Wisconsin in the Big Ten Title game 59-0, but he’ll face a much greater challenge in terms of both defensive talent and defensive coaching from Alabama.

The Tide under Nick Saban have always been a run-first team but behind new offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, the offense has exploded. The key will be whether the Alabama offensive line can handle a very good defensive line from Ohio State. If the Crimson Tide control the line of scrimmage then it could be a long day for the OSU defense.

Trends: Alabama is 4-10-1 against the spread in their last 15 games… Ohio State is 5-0 straight up in their last five games… The total has gone OVER in 11 of OSU’s last 12 games… The Crimson Tide is 5-0 in its’ last five contests.

The Pick: With six national titles between the two of the them, Saban and Urban Meyer will have their teams ready to play. I think Bama wins but I like the Buckeyes getting the points and I like the OVER as well.

Other Bowls

Wisconsin (+7) vs Auburn – Take the Tigers to cover as the Badgers are in a bit of disarray right now.

Michigan State (+3) vs Baylor – I can’t get Sparty’s second half collapse against Oregon’s high-octane offense out of my head. Take the Bears to cover.

Minnesota (+5) vs Missouri – Are you sensing a trend? Every Big Ten team playing today is an underdog. With good reason too, take the Tigers to cover.

Ducks Laying 9 Points to Undefeated Seminoles

The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California will kick off the first ever College Football Playoff when the Florida State Seminoles meet the Oregon Ducks.

The last two winners of the Heisman Trophy will be facing off against one another in this highly anticipated national semifinal matchup.

Florida State is unbeaten at 13-0 this season and 29-0 in their past 29 games played, but enters this game as a 9-point dog against the 12-1 Ducks.

This is because the Seminoles have not been anywhere near as good this season as they were last. Over their past 14 games played, the Seminoles are 3-11 ATS.

In addition, Oregon has won its past 8 games by an average of more than 26 points and covered the spread in each of them.

The Seminoles are 29-0 straight up and 15-14 against the spread in their past 29 games played.

The Seminoles are 8-1-1 against the number in their past 10 bowl appearances, while going 8-2 straight up in the same 10 games.

The UNDER has cashed in each of the past 3 games Oregon has played and 5 of the past 6 bowl games the Ducks have played in.

Preparing for the country’s most dangerous offense takes time, and the Seminoles have had it. However, the defense for FSU has been unimpressive the entire season and could use every piece of help they can get when facing Oregon.

This matchup features the newly crowned Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota the quarterback for Oregon and Jameis Winston the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner the starting quarterback for Florida State.

Statistically the years each won the Heisman were similar. However, Mariota is more of a dual threat as he rushed for 669 yards and scored 14 rushing touchdowns on the season.

However, Florida State has not lost a game with Winston at quarterback and is 26-0 in his two seasons. Oregon is 35-4 in the three seasons that Mariota has quarterbacked the Ducks.

The weather should not be a factor as it is expected to be sunny and in the 50s in Pasadena.

Oregon has won as well as covered 8 straight games since their only straight up loss this season to Arizona. However, Florida State has covered the spread in just 1 of its past 5 games played.

The Seminoles have seen their rating fall 10 points since the start of this season, which for an undefeated team is unheard of.

However, 9 points or more is a great deal to give a team that has won 29 consecutive games.

FSU has been involved in close games the entire season. They are 7-0 in games that have been decided by 6 or fewer points. They come in battled tested and even though they are getting 9 points, they could win outright.