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Fiesta Bowl Preview: #4 Oregon vs. #5 Kansas State

After preparing, scheming and game-planing for over a month, the No. 4 Oregon Ducks and the No. 5 Kansas State Wildcats will finally take the field in the most anticipated college football game of the year (besides the national championship game of course). Before both teams lost near the end of their respective schedules, this match-up could have very well been the national championship game, but fortunately we still get to see them battle it out in the Fiesta Bowl.

Oregon will unleash all of its weapons on the Wildcats today

“The goal all along was to lead this team to a conference championship and a BCS bowl game, and with the unity we showed throughout the season, we were able to accomplish that,” Heisman finalist and Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein said, according to ESPN.com. “Oregon is certainly going to be a tough matchup.”

The Ducks will certainly present the best offense that Kansas State has faced this year. Oregon decimated opposing defenses, scoring 50.8 points per contest, while racking up more than 320 rushing yards each time out, good for a second place ranking in the country for both categories.

But of course, the Wildcats are no slouches when it comes to offensive production either. Like Oregon, K State thrashed its opposition with its high-powered attack that averaged more than 400 yards of total offense per game and 40.7 points (8th in the FBS).

The Cats can put crooked numbers on the scoreboard too

Fans and analysts love to talk about the offenses of these teams and for good reason. The explosive potency of each team’s offense is fun to watch for sure, but there’s no doubt that the winner of this match-up will be the team that steps up on the defensive side of the ball.

The Ducks were just as fast and as furious on defense this season, allowing just 22 points per game (26th in FBS), while ranking among the top teams in the country in takeaways.

Oregon’s D was good, but K State’s was slightly better, allowing just 21.1 points per game, good for a 24th ranking in the country.

On paper, these teams are in a dead heat, but another thing to consider is bowl experience, which both teams have, but only one has been successful in previous appearances.

The Oregon Ducks are making their eighth consecutive bowl trip, including four straight BCS bowls. After losing in the national title game two years ago, the Ducks regrouped and won the Rose Bowl last season.

The Wildcats are making their fifth bowl appearance since 2002, but have lost each of the last four, including last year’s Cotton Bowl to Arkansas.

Considering both teams have had so much time to prepare and are so evenly matched, it seems obvious that this will be one of the most highly-contested, close games of the this bowl season. I give the slight edge to the Ducks for their experience and their superior offense, but expect Kansas State to take this one down to the wire. Take K State to cover +8.5 points in the Ducks’ win.




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