Fiesta Bowl 2012: 5 Reasons This Will Be the Best BCS Bowl Game Ever

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistJanuary 2, 2012

STANFORD, CA - NOVEMBER 26:  Andrew Luck #12 of the Stanford Cardinal in action against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Stanford Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Stanford, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Sure, we all remember the epic 2006 BCS National Championship between Texas and USC, with Vince Young prevailing in the end over Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart. And who could forget the 2007 Fiesta Bowl between Oklahoma and Boise State, when the Broncos used a slew of trick plays to upset the Sooners?

But this year's Fiesta Bowl between Stanford and Oklahoma State has the potential to be the best BCS bowl we've ever seen. Here are five reasons why:

5. Defense may win championships, but offense makes for compelling bowl games

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 29:  Running back Tyler Gaffney #25 of the Stanford Cardinal celebrates with quarterback Andrew Luck #12 after they hooked up on a ten yard touchdown rececption in the first quarter against defensive tackle J.R. Tavai #58 of the
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

And boy, do we have something offensive in this game.

Oklahoma State averages 512.3 yards and 49.3 points per game. Stanford averages 480.9 yards and 43.6 yards per game.

If you thought Baylor vs. Washington was fun, well, you ain't seen nothing yet.

4. A contrast in style

Nothing is more compelling in sports than a clash of styles. We may not have a great offense versus a stout defense in this one, but we certainly have two different methods for moving the football.

Oklahoma State makes its living in the spread offense, using a potent mix of the run and pass, and defeating teams with its speed and propensity for the big play.

Stanford, on the other hand, uses a physical running game and the precise passing of Luck to control the ball and wear a defense down throughout the game. The Cardinal finished 10th this season in time of possession.

In other words, no matter how you like your offense, you'll be getting a whole lot of it tonight.

3. Justin Blackmon

Seriously, he alone is worth the price of admission.

Maybe it is his consecutive Biletnikoff Awards. Or it could be his 113 receptions for 1,336 yards and 15 touchdowns this season. Or it could just be his highlight reel:

It's all three of these things, of course. Expect big things from Mr. Blackmon on his biggest stage yet, with a big game possibly vaulting him into a top-five overall pick in April's NFL Draft.

2. Andrew Luck vs. Brandon Weeden

STILLWATER, OK - DECEMBER 03:  Brandon Weeden #3 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys runs the offense during play against the Oklahoma Sooners at Boone Pickens Stadium on December 3, 2011 in Stillwater, Oklahoma.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

You won't find a more compelling quarterback matchup in the bowls than this one. You already know that Andrew Luck is the next great franchise quarterback and the second coming of Peyton Manning and all that good stuff, but Weeden is no slouch either, throwing for 4,328 yards, 34 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and an impressive 73.6 completion percentage this season.

Minus the interceptions, those are all better marks—albeit in a more pass-heavy offense—than Luck has compiled this year.

Get ready for the aerial onslaught, folks.

1. Everything to prove

The most memorable BCS games generally have one theme—at least one of the teams has something to prove. Even Boise State wanted to prove that they belonged in a BCS bowl when it defeated Oklahoma in 2007.

This year, both of these schools want to prove that they—and not fellow one-loss team Alabama—deserved a shot to play LSU for the BCS National Championship. This is especially true of Oklahoma State, which is likely still kicking itself after losing in mid-November to Iowa State.

But a boring 7-3 contest in which neither team looks sharp won't prove anything to anybody. An epic 52-49 contest that is decided on the final drive of the game, however, will continue the momentum toward a playoff or, more realistically, a "plus one" format.

Do it for all of college football, Stanford and Oklahoma State—give us a BCS bowl game we'll remember for the ages.

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