Wednesday, January 2, 2013

PS Bowl-A-Thon 2012: Fiesta Bowl

The Duck is always ready for a fiesta or a Korean rap song.

The When/Where:
Thursday, January 3rd at 8:30 p.m. EST. Glendale, AZ. ESPN.

The Who:
#4 Oregon Ducks (11-1, 8-1 PAC-12) vs. #5 Kansas State Wildcats (11-1, 8-1 Big XII)

The Why:
Now the bowl season gets exciting. No more Russell Athletic Bowls. The glitz and glamour of Oregon versus the nose to the grindstone, work ethic of Kansas State.

On the morning of November 17th, both teams were headed for a showdown in the National Championship Bowl or game or whatever. By the end of the night both teams had lost and ultimately landed here.

Oregon rolled through its schedule scoring no less than 42 points in each game, until it lost to Stanford 17-14 in overtime. Stanford went on to win the PAC-12 and the Rose Bowl. My guess is that Bill Snyder has watched the videotape of Stanford’s defensive performance a couple thousand times.

Kansas State meanwhile came out of nowhere. When they won in Norman on Sept. 22nd it was clear the Wildcats had something bigger in mind for this season. Unfortunately Baylor ended the dream with a 52-24 drubbing in Waco. Even though they tied for the Big 12 title with Oklahoma- they got the BCS invite due to their previous win.

What Smartypants Accounting Guy Would Tell You:
You may have heard of this Oregon offense. 50.8 ppg. 550 ypg. They bring it with their up-tempo, speed, look at the chart with four random pictures, offense.  Freshman Quarterback Marcus Mariota is the catalyst for the offense throwing 30 TDs and 6 interceptions on the year. Mariota also ran for nearly 700 yards and 4 more touchdowns. Still the Ducks prefer the ground; RB Kenjon Barner had over 1,600 yards this year. He got 321 yards and 5 TDs against Southern Cal alone.

The Wildcats are lead by Heisman finalist Collin Klein. He threw for nearly 2,500 yards and 15 touchdowns this season. Klein picked up 22 more TDs on the ground as he is their best option on short yardage attempts. The Wildcats scored over 40 ppg this year. They also prefer the ground where Josh Hubert and Collin Klein had roughly the same number of carries for the same number of yards.

Both defenses give up about 21 ppg. Kansas State was brutalized by Baylor giving up over 300 yards on the ground, yet slowed down high-power offenses like Oklahoma State, West Virginia and Oklahoma. Oregon’s defense is also suspect giving up substantial yards on the ground. They do lead the nation in forced turnovers with 39 though.

Pool Prognosticators Pattern:
Bill Snyder was Hayden Fry’s offensive coordinator at both Iowa and North Texas. Many Hawkeye fans wonder what would be if Snyder had stayed and taken over for Fry. Sigh. I do love that Bill Snyder came back and has been excellent in his second stint as headman in Manhattan. They really ought to rename it Synderville. It’s hard to overstate what he has done for that university and town.

No word on whether Oregon will wear radioactive jerseys or if Picasso designed their helmets for the game (I know he’s dead, its sarcasm).

So salt of the earth versus flashy, over-hyped and bankrolled by Nike. Yeah, its going to be tough to figure out where I come down on this one.

The Vegas Edge:
Oregon by 8.5 Over/Under is 74.5.

The Sweatpants Verdict:
The line is high for a reason. KState will likely have a tough time keeping up with Oregon. Maybe Bill Snyder has come up with something in 5 weeks of watching tape. I doubt it.

The Wildcats though have kept pace in plenty of Big XII score fests and I don’t think Oregon’s D is anything special. Should be highly entertaining. But Oregon pulls away late.

Oregon 41 KState 30

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