Collin Klein leads the Kansas State Wildcats against the Oregon Ducks in the Fiesta Bowl.
So here is my Fiesta Bowl pick.
4 Oregon - 11-1
5 Kansas State - 11-1
This could have been the matchup for the National Championship game, but each team slipped up with losses late in the season, and ended up playing one another in the Fiesta Bowl. Both are 11-1 and ranked in the top five, and feature offenses that are capable of lighting up the score board. And this will most certainly be a high a scoring game.
Kansas State is led by QB Collin Klein, a Heisman Trophy finalist and the major reason the Wildcats have returned to the National spotlight. The move also coincided with the return of legendary coach Bill Snyder, as the program had floundered after he retired. But this time the Wildcats may be even better than in his first tenure.
For Oregon, their coach Chip Kelly has been rumored to make the jump to the NFL, and this could be his last game as head coach for Oregon. Which raises the stakes emotionally for the Ducks, as their players obviously know that Kelly may be moving on. Kelly has become renowned for being an offensive genius, and his high-powered offense has been the most prolific in college football the past few seasons.
And as the senior Klein has been the engine driving the Wildcats to the top, freshman Marcus Mariota has been just as impressive at QB for the Ducks this season. Throw in the speed of Kenjon Barner and De’Anthony Thomas, and the Ducks has been virtually unstoppable. And yet in their only loss to Stanford, it was proven that the Ducks offense can be stopped.
This is why Kansas State has a good chance to win this game. Because like Stanford, the Wildcats are more of a smash mouth team that wears you down with tough defense and hard running. They can pass but they don’t turn the ball over much, and they seem to always capitalize on other teams mistakes. So if the Wildcats can force Oregon to commit turnovers and limit their own, then they can win.
However, I don’t think they will. Oregon has the advantage in team speed, and as we saw in Kansas State’s only loss against Baylor, if they get into a track meet the Wildcats will fall behind. Initially, it will be close and high scoring throughout, but as the game transpires, the Ducks will open up their advantage, and the Wildcats won’t be able to stay with them. Ducks win. 45-35 Oregon
- 2013 Fiesta Bowl: Kansas State’s physicality stands out to De’Anthony Thomas (arizona.sbnation.com)
- Kansas State Football: Bold Predictions for Wildcats vs. Oregon in Fiesta Bowl (bleacherreport.com)
- Football Roundtable: How Will Kansas State Fare vs Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl? (throughthephog.com)