Boise State’s 38-30 victory in the Fiesta Bowl over Arizona dealt the Pac-12 its first loss of the post-season, and it was an upset. BSU got off to a quick 21-0 start, as the Wildcats seemed less than inspired to play out of the gate. They battled, but in the end, some dubious clock management and a poor third-down decision inside the Bronco 10 by QB Anu Solomon cost the Wildcats.
On to the big one . . .
Rose: Oregon (minus 8.5) vs. Florida State — It’s a dreamy matchup of the last two Heisman Trophy winners, Marcus Mariota against Jameis Winston, and the day ushers in a new era for the sport, with a post-season playoff. The Ducks get a lot of respect for the way they’ve flattened Pac-12 opponents since the Arizona loss early in October; they haven’t scored fewer than 42 points since. Meanwhile, Florida State has walked a tightrope all year and won its last four games by a mere 14 points. Here’s a surprising number: Among the top 73 quarterbacks in FBS pass efficiency, nobody threw more interceptions than Winston (17) in 2014. But it has to hurt the Ducks that All-America corner Ifo Ekpre-Olomu is out with a knee injury. Something to watch for: Often, after a long layoff, offenses don’t click early, as timing is difficult to achieve. We may look back and say this was Oregon’s best chance to win a national championship, but I don’t think it’ll come easily against the proven Seminoles, who, while they’ve been shaky, have had the wherewithal to win 29 straight. I see a fourth-quarter game ultimately going to the Ducks. Oregon 35, Florida State 31.
Pac-12 bowl picks: 5-0. Against the spread: 3-2.