By Jamie MacDonald | Dec. 31, 2014, 4 p.m. (ET)

At long last, we have arrived at the College Football Playoff, with the semifinals taking place on New Year's Day. And, as we have all season long, we're checking in with a few prominent alums with serious rooting interests in the games. At 5 p.m. ET on Jan. 1, 2015, the nation's No. 2 and 3 teams, Florida State and Oregon, will square off in the Rose Bowl, so we asked Olympians Ashton Eaton and Ariel Rittenhouse who will win in the matchup of their alma maters.

Ashton Eaton
Twitter: @ashtonjeaton

Ashton Eaton
Sport: Decathlon
College/University: University of Oregon
Graduation year: 2010

What does it mean to alums that your alma mater made it this far?

That their donor donations actually count.

Seriously, though, it’s an honor. A university is a home, a very utopian kind of home, for many years. It gives us a lot, but we also give it a lot. In that sense, we like to see the different facets of it rise to high levels. In some way there is a connection and for this reason we feel like we’ve risen, too.

What intrigues you the most about the matchup?

There are a couple things that make this game more interesting to me. Firstly each team has had ample rest to be totally physically and mentally revitalized. Along the same vein, each team has been able to study the other team for an extended period of time. Lastly, both these teams are here because they’ve seen defeat very few times this season. Why should either team expect that to change? It’s going to be an awesome game.

What are you most looking forward to about the game?

Truly I’m just looking toward the display of skill. There isn’t any one aspect that I’m honing in on, just seeing the game as a whole. It’s a contest. To win the contest you have to out-skill your opponent. So show us how you will do it!

Final score prediction?

I’m literally the worst score predictor. I say:

Oregon 10 quintillion - Florida State 500 trillion

Why do you think Oregon team will win?

Apparently, Oregon uniforms for this game have a recycling system that takes the players' sweat and turns it into drinkable water that is absorbed back through the skin using quantum injection, allowing for continual hydration. I don’t know, just what I heard.

Who will be the game’s biggest star?

All eyes will be on Marcus Mariota, but in these situations it seems that other players you don’t typically recognize rise to the occasion. It may be someone unlikely, but, for now, I’ll say one of the players at my favorite position: "Rolls" Royce Freeman.

Ariel Rittenhouse
Instagram: @ace_rittie

Ariel Rittenhouse
Sport: Diving
College/University: Florida State University
Graduation year: 2014

What does it mean to alums that your alma mater made it this far?

The fact that Florida State has made it this far means the world to all of the school’s alumni. One of the greatest things about FSU is the school spirit, whether a current student or having graduated 50 years ago. I love how involved all students and alums are in the school and in the football program. Being an alumni myself, I still feel as connected to the school and the games as I did when I was still a student in Tallahassee. It is one of the reasons why I love Florida State University and I think I can speak for all alums in saying that the hype and excitement for this game is at an all-time high.

What intrigues you the most about the matchup?

What intrigues me most is not just the matchup between the teams, but the matchup between the quarterbacks of FSU and Oregon, the two most recent Heisman winners. The fact that two of college football's best quarterbacks are in this game is going to make it a nail-biter. I think both Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota are going to be facing their toughest matchup of the year and I can’t wait to see who will hold up under the pressure.

What are you most looking forward to about the game?

What I’m looking forward to most about the game is getting to watch all these elite college athletes match up and fight for a spot in the championship game. There is nothing like watching great athletes perform, no matter what the sport. Both of these teams have been training hard all year and I think there are going to be some fantastic plays in the game that will be talked about for weeks afterwards. For Oregon’s defense, Eddie Goldman and Mario Edwards Jr. are going to be key players, putting pressure on Florida State. FSU has great offense with Nick O’Leary and Rashad Greene. I can’t wait to watch these two top teams and all the great players clash and battle it out.

Final score prediction?

37-34, Florida State

Why do you think that team will win?

I think Florida State will win because of the experience they have from winning the BCS Championship last year. Although this game is tough, Florida State is undefeated and they know how to win and how to handle the pressure. Critics have claimed that Florida State has had an easy schedule this year and the team is not up to par, but I think the fact that they are still undefeated is a huge factor and they will be able to rise to the occasion and come out victorious over Oregon.

Who will be the game’s biggest star?

I believe the game’s biggest star will be Florida State’s freshman running back, Dalvin Cook. Cook is coming into his prime at the perfect time this season. He was the MVP of the ACC Championship game and ran for over 321 yards in his last two games. With the way he has been playing, I think he will be one of FSU’s key players and the standout star of the game.