Rose Bowl 2015: Oregon vs. FSU Schedule, Live Stream and TV Info

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistDecember 21, 2014

SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 05: Marcus Mariota #8 of the Oregon Ducks scrambles in the first half against the Arizona Wildcats during the PAC-12 Championships at Levi's Stadium on December 5, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

In 2015, "The Granddaddy of Them All" will become even bigger. Gone is the nostalgic Big Ten vs. Pac-12 matchup. In its stead is a matchup between the Pac-12 and defending national champion for a shot at winning it all this year.

There's no shortage of intrigue heading into this game. Florida State enters the contest as the owner of the nation's longest winning streak but is somehow feeling like an underdog. Oregon and Heisman-winning quarterback Marcus Mariota opened as -8.5 favorites, according to Odds Shark.

The line has only moved in the Ducks favor since.

Still, the fact remains that the Seminoles were the only team to run through 2014 unscathed in the regular season. It wasn't always pretty, but 13-0 is 13-0. Are the Ducks the team to put an end to the run?

Here's a look at all the information you need to catch the game along with some of the key questions surrounding this matchup.

When: Jan. 1, 2015, at 4:30 p.m. ET


Live Stream: WatchESPN

Which Jameis Winston Will We See?

Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

It's no secret that Jameis Winston vs. Marcus Mariota is the matchup everyone is talking about heading into this game. It's very rare for two Heisman winners to square off in a bowl game, and the fact that it's happening in a game of this magnitude makes for some compelling TV. 

The question, though, is whether we are going to see the same Winston that won the Heisman last season. The 2014 incarnation hasn't been nearly as efficient as the one that took college football by storm in 2013. 

2013 Jameis Winston vs. 2014 Jameis Winston
66.9Comp. Percentage65.4

While Winston's numbers have dropped overall, it's the one that's increased that's the most worrisome. His new found penchant for turning the ball over is one that could finally catch up with him.

The good news is that Oregon's defense hasn't exactly been known for ball hawking. The Ducks rank 91st in the nation in defensive interception percentage, per TeamRankings.com.

However, Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich knows they must be prepared to get Winston's best shot on New Year's Day. Tyson Alger of The Oregonian shared Helfrich's comments:

That's one thing you never really know. Yes, his stats are different. Early game production is different. ... A lot of times against a team like Florida State, those guys are going to get every single team's best shot. Best preparation, most dialed in sense of urgency in meetings. You're trying to knock off No. 1...people are dialed into that.

The loss of Ifo Ekpre-Olomu makes this an even more favorable matchup for Winston. The cornerback is considered one of the top defensive backs in the country and will be difficult to replace going against Florida State's receiving corps led by Rashad Greene.

Can Florida State's Defense Slow Down Oregon's Rushing Attack?

TALLAHASSEE, FL - NOVEMBER 22: Mario Edwards Jr. #15 of the Florida State Seminoles takes down Myles Willis #23 of the Boston College Eagles during the game at Doak Campbell Stadium on November 22, 2014 in Tallahassee, Florida. The Seminoles defeated the
Jeff Gammons/Getty Images

Mariota steals all the headlines, but Oregon's offense is still propelled by a fast-paced rushing attack. The Ducks are 22nd nationally in yards per game and 17th in yards per rush. Basically, they're not only efficient but just keep coming with volume.

This, of course, sets up defenses for all kind of headaches, because once they've established that running game, there's the matter of stopping a Heisman-winning quarterback in the passing game.

The good news for the Noles is they may have what it takes to slow down the Ducks running game. Florida State's defense isn't what it was last season but still ranks 37th in defensive yards per carry at 3.9.

That ranking may not seem impressive. After all, it would seem a top-10 rushing defense would be necessary to stop the likes of Royce Freeman, Mariota and Byron Marshall. However, at 37, Florida State will be the highest-ranked rush defense the Ducks have seen outside of Michigan State way back in September.

Florida State hasn't always played the part, but the front seven is still chock-full of 4- and 5-star athletes. The potential is there for the Noles to make the Ducks work for yardage in this one.

Is This the Year Oregon Wins It All?

SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 05:  head coach of the Oregon Ducks Mark Helfrich celebrates their PAC-12 victory against the Arizona Wildcats at Levi's Stadium on December 5, 2014 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Since the Chip Kelly era, the Oregon Ducks have been among the top programs in college football. The Pac-12 power has been to BCS bowls in four of the last five seasons but hasn't been able to break through to win a national title.

But this feels as much like the year of the Duck as any.

First, there's the fact that Mariota's career has come to a head. The junior has somehow taken his game to a new level this season, as evidenced by his runaway Heisman season, per ESPN Stats & Info:

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

There wasn’t much doubt about Marcus Mariota in the minds of #Heisman voters http://t.co/RQ7jTBUZSo

Then there's the fact that this may be the best defense in this era of Oregon football. The Ducks are 13th defensively in the country, according to Football Outsiders' F/+ metric. That's the highest they've finished since 2011.

The switch to Don Pellum may have seemed rocky in the beginning, but he's rounding the defense into shape just in time for the stretch run.

With an efficient defense, their usual high-flying offense and a favorable matchup in the national semifinal, this could finally be the year the Ducks truly enter the fray as the nation's top team.


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