Oregon (yes, those are Oregon uniforms) QB Marcus Mariotta hands off to RB Kenjon Barner. Look for this a lot tonight. - Jonathan Ferrey
Two former title contenders meet tonight in what could be the best bowl game of the season.
Bowl Week continues and tonight's game looks to be one of the premier matchups of the season.
Both teams might consider this a what-could-have-been season. KSU and Oregon were highly ranked all season. At 10-0, KSU held the #1 rank and featured the Heisman front runner in QB Collin Klein, while 10-0 Oregon sat right behind them at #2 and featured the nation's best offense and explosive runner Kenjon Barner.
Then November 17th happened.
KSU was surprised at home when some team called Baylor dominated them all over the field. Who'd have imagined that? The same night, Stanford started a redshirt freshman QB and the team played flawlessly in Eugene to beat the Ducks in OT. Who'd have imagined that? Alabama had gotten their one loss out of the way already and jumped over both KSU and Oregon in the BCS rankings and stayed there. Who'd have imagined that? Well, actually, everyone would have guessed the last one. Further proof that it not as important who you lose to but when you lose. Nice system, BCS. Thank god you will, sort of, go away in a year.
So the Wildcats and Ducks were relegated to the BCS Consolation Bowl, but if both teams are still interested, this could be a much better game than the title game next Monday. Oregon is second in the nation in rushing and scoring, even though they only managed 14 points against Stanford. KSU features an excellent run defense, even though they gave up 342 yards on the ground against Baylor. Oregon has a good passing attack that can move the ball if the run game is slowed. KSU has a high powered rushing offense of its own and the Ducks defense has been susceptible on the ground. Oregon will play at light speed, but they can't kick field goals. Both teams force lots of turnovers. Both teams have great coaches in KSU's ageless Bill Snyder and Oregon's offensive guru Chip Kelly. KSU will wear it's classic purple and white. Who the heck knows what the Ducks will wear tonight.
This game on paper is a very interesting matchup. If both teams can forget that they could and possibly should be playing in a different bowl, this will be a great game.
Here's your Thursday night Fiesta Bowl Open Thread. Open up some Tostitos and have at it.