Oregon Ducks vs. Kansas State Wildcats
Tip-0ff: Thursday, January 3, 2013 – 8:30 PM ET
University of Phoenix Stadium, GLENDALE, AZ
Even though YouWager experts consider it was quite late in the season, the Oregon Ducks and Kansas State Wildcats were where they needed to be to meet for the national championship. However, one night in mid-November managed to ruin their chances to play for one.
The best postseason college football game besides the BCS title meeting is looking like tonight’s Fiesta Bowl, when Collin Klein and the seventh-ranked Kansas State will try to keep up with the high-powered offense of the No. 5 Oregon.
In addition to these teams, college football’s only other unbeatens heading into Nov. 17 were bowl-ineligible Ohio State Buckeyes and Notre Dame Fighting Irish, which stood third in the polls behind the Wildcats and the Ducks. Both of these teams entered that night 10-0 with two games to go but would suffer their first defeat.
Four minutes after time ran out on the Wildcats perfect season with a 52-24 defeat to unranked Baylor Bears, the Ducks fell 17-14 to then-No. 14 Stanford Cardinal in overtime. Both of these football teams would get leapfrogged in the BCS standings by fellow one-loss team Alabama Crimson Tide, which went on to claim the spot opposite the undefeated Notre Dame in the title game.
The Fiesta Bowl is the only one besides the national championship game in which both teams are ranked in the top 10 or have fewer than two defeats — both are 11-1. Oregon is No. 4 in the BCS standings and the Big 12 champion Kansas State No. 5.
A consistently dominant ground game helped Oregon score at least 40 in every game except the defeat against the Cardinal. They averaged 50.8 points to rank second nationally behind Louisiana Tech (51.5).
The Ducks were third in rushing (323.3 yards per game) as Kenjon Barner — ninth in the Heisman voting — ran for 1,624 yards and 21 touchdowns. The highlight was a 321-yard, five-TD performance in a 62-51 victory over Southern California on Nov. 3.
The Ducks, a team that’s facing Kansas State for the first time, is making an eighth consecutive bowl appearance and fourth straight in a BCS game after winning last season’s Rose Bowl. The Wildcats have dropped their only four bowl games since 2002, including a 29-16 defeat versus the Arkansas Razorbacks in the 2012 Cotton Bowl as Klein was held to 42 yards on 24 carries.