Oregon and Florida State face off in Rose Bowl playoff semifinal

18. December 2014 12:40 by Julie Merar in College Sports  //  Tags:   //   Comments ()

In this year's 2014-15 Rose Bowl, the University of Oregon Ducks take on the undefeated Florida State Seminoles for a chance to play in the National Championship. The winner will go up against the winner of the Allstate Sugar Bowl, in which the No.1 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide will take on the Ohio State Buckeyes. Both games take place on New Year's Day, Jan. 1, 2015, along with the Cotton Bowl, Citrus Bowl and Outback Bowl. The Oregon Ducks are ranked No. 2 by the College Football Playoff selection committee with a record of 12-1. Despite having a better 13-0 record, the Seminoles earned a No. 3 ranking by the same committee. 

The match up will showcase the talent of two of the NCAA's most promising quarterbacks, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. Both stars are Heisman Trophy candidates, although Winston already received the prestigious accolade in 2013 after the Seminoles won a National Championship to finish a 14-0 season. Of course, while the spotlight often is directed at the quarterback, both teams have versatile squads that make them so successful. Though Oregon is the favorite to win, Florida State are currently on a 28 game win streak and have not seen a loss since Winston started his run as the Seminoles' quarterback. A Rose Bowl victory for either team will mean competing in the CFP National Championship at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Jan. 12, 2015.

The 2014-15 Rose Bowl 
The Rose Bowl annually takes place in Pasadena, California in the stadium by the same name. With the introduction of the playoff system this year, the Rose Bowl will be host to a CFP semifinal game once every three years, in rotation with five other bowl games. In future off years, it will revert to a match between Big Ten and Pac-12 teams. Dating back to 1902, the Rose Bowl is the oldest bowl game in the country and has always been a final destination for teams in the Big 10 and former Pac-10 (Pac-12 since 2011). With over 100 years of tradition, the Rose Bowl truly is "The Granddaddy of Them All." However, in the 2014-15 season, the Rose Bowl has instead become a stopping point, and either team will likely celebrate and then begin preparing for the National Championship.

The 2014 Capital One Orange Bowl

15. December 2014 10:45 by Julie Merar in College Sports  //  Tags:   //   Comments ()

The 2014 NCAA college football season is slated to go down in history, as it is the inaugural year of the four team playoff system. The college football playoff selection committee faced a lofty challenge of choosing from six teams that could easily all lay claim to having a go at the National Championship. The official final four will put the Oregon Ducks against the Florida State Seminoles in the Rose Bowl and the Alabama Crimson Tide against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Sugar Bowl. TCU and Baylor both could've earned playoff berths, however, many believe the Buckeyes sealed their fate with a 59-0 victory over Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship game, despite losing two star quarterbacks. Then, ranking No. 7 in the country, there is Mississippi State, a team many expected to make a run at the National Championship this year. 

The 2014-15 Orange Bowl
In the 2014 Orange Bowl, the Mississippi State Bulldogs will face off against the No. 12 ranked Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. The Bulldogs sat atop the AP Top 25 poll for five weeks and the team was included in all of the initial playoff predictions released by the selection committee. However, Mississippi State faced two tough losses late in the season, one to the No. 1 ranked Crimson Tide and another to Ole Miss. The Bulldogs ended the season ranked No. 7 in the playoff poll and No. 8 in the AP Top 25, falling just behind the Michigan State Spartans in the latter. 

Meanwhile, Georgia Tech faced a close loss to the Seminoles in the ACC Championship game, with a final score of 37-35. The Yellow Jackets put together a 10-3 record, but faced consecutive mid-season losses to Duke and North Carolina. This setback would not stop Georgia Tech from finding a spot in the conference championship, but even a win would've likely done nothing for the Yellow Jackets' shot at a playoff run. This will be Georgia Tech's seventh appearance in the Orange Bowl. 

The Bulldogs and Yellow Jackets now prepare to duke it out in Miami Gardens at Sun Life Stadium on Dec. 31, 2014. The 2014 Orange Bowl, sponsored by Capital One, is one of the oldest bowl games in the country and will be celebrating its 80th year, having been introduced on Jan. 1, 1935.

Michigan State and Baylor to play in the 2014 Cotton Bowl

11. December 2014 09:13 by Julie Merar in College Sports  //  Tags:   //   Comments ()

The No. 8 ranked Michigan State Spartans will be making their first appearance in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl against the No. 5 ranked Baylor Bears in a matchup many pundits were not expecting. Before the final rankings were released, Michigan State sat in the seventh position on the College Football Playoff rankings and was anticipating a trip to Miami to play in the Orange Bowl against Georgia Tech. However, Mississippi State leaped  the Spartans in the final week, rising from No. 10 to No 7, sealing an Orange Bowl berth. 

Meanwhile, Baylor had high hopes of participating in the inaugural College Football Playoffs. With a record of 11-1, the Bears seemed to be a likely candidate to face off against the Crimson Tide in this year's Sugar Bowl, but just missed out after Ohio State shutout Wisconsin 59-0 in the Big Ten Championship, despite the loss of quarterbacks Braxton Miller and J.T. Barrett. Though Baylor's playoff hopes were quashed, the Cotton Bowl is still one of the six College Football Playoff bowl games to be played over New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. 

Cotton Bowl history 
The Cotton Bowl has operated since 1937, and until 2009 was played annually at its namesake stadium in Dallas, Texas. Prior to the creation of the playoff system, which took place in 2014, the Cotton Bowl invited teams after others were selected for the five Bowl Championship Series and Capital One Bowl. The event was moved to the former Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, at the end of the 2009-10 season. Now known as AT&T Stadium, this venue is the largest domed stadium complex in the world, holding up to 100,000 people. Along with the Fiesta, Orange, Peach, Rose and Sugar bowls, the Cotton Bowl is part of the rotating six College Football Playoff bowl games.

The 2014 event
At the beginning of 2015, Michigan State and Baylor are slated to go head-to-head, and both have something to prove. As a Big Ten school, the Spartans must fight to show off the strength of their conference. For Baylor, the Cotton Bowl is an opportunity prove they should've had a go at the national championship.

The 2014 Goodyear Cotton Bowl is scheduled to be played on New Year's Day, Jan. 1, 2015, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Kickoff: 12:30 p.m., ET.

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