Presenting 10 reasons why Florida State will beat Oregon in the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual:
1. Jameis Winston: His interceptions are up and his touchdowns are down. But is there any other quarterback you want leading your team with two minutes left in a tight game? Absolutely not. Winston has come through for the Seminoles when they needed him most, putting his mistakes behind him to lead five second-half comebacks this season. According to ESPN Stats & Information data, Winston has an 88.1 total QBR when trailing in the second half, fourth-best in the nation. Oh, and he’s 26-0 as a starter.
2. The second half: As noted above, there is not a better team in the country at making second-half adjustments. Florida State has outscored Power 5 opponents by 8.6 points per game in the second half, second-best among Power 5 teams behind TCU, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. A big reason why are the defensive improvements. In their past eight games, the FSU defense has given up fewer yards in the second half seven times. Opponents have scored 125 total points in the second half. Compare that to Oregon, which has given up 151 second-half points.
3. The defense is healthy: This is probably the healthiest Florida State has been since the start of the season, and it could not come at a better time. Defensive tackles Eddie Goldman and Nile Lawrence-Stample are ready to go, and so is linebacker Terrance Smith, who missed the ACC championship game with a knee injury. Florida State has struggled at times on defense, and injuries have not helped matters. Having these three back is huge.
4. Dalvin Cook: The freshman has emerged in the second half of the season, setting a school freshman record for rushing yards with 905. He is tough to contain and bring down. Eleven of his carries have gone for 20 or more yards. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, Cook is averaging 8.8 yards per rush outside the tackles, second-best among Power 5 running backs behind Melvin Gordon (minimum 50 carries). He will be a load for the Oregon defense to stop.
5. No Ifo: Losing All-American cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu is a huge blow for the Ducks, who are expected to start redshirt freshman Chris Seisay in his place. Winston said earlier this week it hardly matters who is lined up at corner, but there is no doubt Florida State will test Seisay early and often. The Seminoles have matchup advantages with dependable veteran Rashad Greene, speedy Travis Rudolph, and tight end Nick O'Leary to boot.
6. Florida State secondary: Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost had high praise for defensive back Jalen Ramsey, who has emerged in the second half of the season as a dependable leader in the secondary. Ramsey has 11 pass breakups and 9.5 tackles for loss and is joined by lockdown cornerback P.J. Williams, the BCS national championship MVP a year ago. Florida State has 53 pass break-ups this season. Oregon has great athletes at receiver; Florida State has the athletes to keep up.
7. More physical: Oregon takes exception to the finesse label, so here is the perfect opportunity to prove everybody wrong and absolutely own the line of scrimmage against the bigger Seminoles. Florida State owns a size advantage on the offensive line -- the five starters average 323 pounds -- and has been much better with Cameron Erving under center. Can a patchwork offensive line dominate All-ACC performers Eddie Goldman and Mario Edwards Jr.? Florida State has the edge in both matchups.
8. Roberto Automatic-o: Not only does Florida State have the clutch Winston, it also has the clutch Roberto Aguayo, who has missed only three field goal attempts in his career. Aguayo is 8-for-8 on field goal attempts from 44 yards or longer and has never missed an attempt from 50 yards or longer. He is as close to automatic as you will find, and that is a huge advantage for any team playing for a championship.
9. Red zone dominance: Florida State has been extremely productive in the red zone, converting 92.6 percent of its opportunities into points to rank No. 5 in the nation. Against Power 5 opponents, Florida State has converted 38 of its 42 red-zone chances. Twenty-one of those scores have been rushes. Here is the advantage: Oregon ranks No. 74 in the nation in red-zone defense and allows 4.1 yards per carry.
10. The 29-game winning streak: Florida State just doesn’t lose. Simple as that.