Less than a month ago, it sure looked like the Kansas State Wildcats (10-1) and Oregon Ducks (11-1) were finally going to meet—in the 2013 BCS National Championship Game.
But as we know, even the best laid plans don't always come to fruition—like a home-and-home series between the two schools that was supposed to take place in 2011 and 2012, only to have Kansas State pull out, leaving the Ducks scrambling to fill the spot on their schedule (h/t ESPN).
Losses to Texas A&M and Stanford, respectively, effectively knocked both schools out of the biggest game of the season and right into the Fiesta Bowl's lap.
While Kansas State still needs to get past No. 16 Texas (8-3) at home on Saturday in order to hold off the Oklahoma Sooners in the race for the Big 12 championship, with two weeks to prepare, you have to like the Wildcats' chances of representing the conference in the Fiesta Bowl.
Oregon, who won't play in the Pac-12 championship game for the first time in three years, will get an at-large bid to a BCS bowl.
With the Fiesta Bowl having the first choice among BCS bowls for at-large teams, the Ducks' high-octane offense and ravenous fanbase—one that will make the 20-hour trip southeast to Glendale, Arizona—make them the obvious choice.
Two high-powered offenses that each boast a Heisman Trophy candidate—K-State QB Collin Klein and Oregon RB Kenjon Barner—Oregon still smarting over Kansas State pulling out of their agreed-upon series and both teams playing with a chip on their shoulder?
Kansas State vs. Oregon at 8:30 p.m. ET on January 3 has "can't-miss game" written all over it.
Plugging Oklahoma into Kansas State's spot simply doesn't offer as much appeal for viewers—or the Fiesta Bowl.