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Florida State is hard to figure out. They had many close calls against lesser teams this year. In about half of their games they have had to come from behind in the second half. Their stats are not impressive. ESPN’s analysis on team efficiency/productivity have the other playoff teams, Oregon, Alabama and Ohio State ranked 1, 2 and 4 in the country. Florida State; #17

But they win; 29 straight games at this point. You can’t ignore that. So my quest has been to figure out why a team full of 4 and 5 Star HS All-Americans can have so much trouble beating mediocre teams.

I decided to watch random replays of FSU. A quarter here and a quarter there while working out on the tread mill.

Oregon Offense vs FSU defense.
My opinion is that Florida State often plays with poor technique and weak team discipline. Players get beat too often and on defense their spacing often looks like a 7th grade marching band in their first parade. This allowing opponents running backs to find open gaps to run through. They account for this by using their great athleticism and speed to recover. Oregon has the speed to match and should be able to take advantage of FSU’s gambling defensive philosophy. I suspect that the only thing that will stop Oregon is Oregon. Dropped passes, costly penalties and fumbles need to be avoided. Because the FSU defense which often rushes 5-6 players at the QB look for Oregon receivers #5 Devon Allen and #6 Charles Nelson to have some big plays. I’m not convinced FSU has the defense to hold Oregon under 40 points.

Oregon’s defense vs Florida State’s Offense.

Florida State has three future NFL fist round draft picks in QB Jameis Winston, receiver Rashad Green and tight end Nick O’Leary, who is the grandson of golfer Jack Nicklaus. Freshman running back Dalvin Cook compliments the passing attack.

Winston has often struggled early, throwing bad interceptions and looking confused. He gets better as the game goes on and shows deadly accuracy and a great sense of timing when throwing the ball. My theory is that Winston has a lot of trouble reading the defense after the ball is snapped. I think he makes his read before the ball is snapped. When he recognizes things before the snap he is very accurate. However when his assumption is wrong I have seen him throw the ball to a defender who was not where he thought he was going to be.

So Oregon’s job is to do a good job disguising their defense. Running different coverages from the same formations. This is more important than getting sacks although if you can get pressure, Winston will sometimes just throw the ball up for grabs. The Ducks will get chances to intercept and need to complete those opportunities.

Oregon has shut down better running attacks and should be able to do the same against FSU.

The biggest challenge is to minimize the damage by the two receivers.

If Florida State plays up to their potential from start to finish they can win. But this is Oregon’s game to lose. Ideally Oregon has a 14 point lead in the 3rd quarter and grinds out time consuming scoring drive to keep the ball away from FSU. Something they have shown the ability to do with running backs Royce Freeman and Thomas Tyner.

Oregon 45 Florida State 24