LOS ANGELES-The smile is loose. The swagger of confidence is already in place. Now the only thing left to is for Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston to go out and strut his stuff. For the past two years, the redshirt sophomore has been pretty good at it, leading the No. 3 Seminoles to 26 straight wins and a national title to boot.
Winston and his teammates are looking to keep their crown as the best NCAA Division I team in the land as they take on No. 2 Oregon in a College Football Playoff semifinal game at the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day. The winner of that game goes on to play the winner of the Alabama-Ohio State matchup for the national championship.
Last year, Winston and the Seminoles made it look easy as they cruised to the BCS national championship game in Pasadena and defeated Auburn for the title. This year has been a lot more rockier and perilous for Winston and Florida State. A lot of close games, some of them comebacks from double-digits at times.
Florida State won’t get away with the kind of ball against the likes of Mariota and the speedy Ducks. But being able to come back and win close games speaks volumes about this Florida State team and Winston. There’s a reason why the Seminoles have been undefeated for two seasons heading into the 2015 Rose Bowl game.
That reason is Winston, who captured the Heisman Trophy last season with a rather impressive breakout year. This season, Winston has not been as dominant on the field as Florida State escaped close defeat at the hands of Georgia Tech, Boston College, Miami and Louisville. However, looking at the glass half full instead of half empty, the best attribute Winston and Florida State has is resilience.
Without that, Winston and the Seminoles would have been hard-pressed to make it to the newly formed College Football Playoff semifinal round. That kind of effort is going to be needed to pull off a win against Mariota and the high-flying Ducks if Winston and Florida State hope to have a chance at keeping their national title for another year.