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Oregon Football: Breaking Down Potential Bowl Options and Opponents

CORVALLIS, OR - NOVEMBER 24: Running back De'Anthony Thomas #6 is lifted into the air by offensive linesman James Euscher #58 of the Oregon Ducks after scoring a touchdown as wide receiver Dwayne Stanford #18 of the Oregon Ducks looks on in the third quarter of the game against the Oregon State Beavers on November 24, 2012 at Reser Stadium in Corvallis, Oregon. Oregon won the game 48-24. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Steve Dykes/Getty Images
Jonathan IrwinContributor IINovember 27, 2012

The University of Oregon is a lock for a BCS bowl game, but which one—and against who—is still a bit in the air.

With its one loss to Stanford, Oregon lost its chance for not only the BCS Championship game, but the Rose Bowl as well. The Ducks are still ranked No. 5 in the BCS, and at 11-1, they are an obvious lock for a major bowl game.

Most speculation has them lined up for the Fiesta Bowl, where they would face the winner of the Big 12 division.

Of course, Oregon could still qualify for the Orange or Sugar Bowl.

In the Orange Bowl, they would face the ACC Champion (the Florida State Seminoles, who are ranked No. 13, will face unranked Georgia Tech in the ACC title game), but that doesn't sound like much of a game, so we can assume the selection committee skips over it.

The Sugar Bowl is still a possibility but seems less likely.

The automatic bid goes to the SEC Champion—and since No. 2 Alabama or No. 3 Georgia is headed for the Championship game, that gives No. 4 Florida an automatic bid.

The assumption is that Florida's opponent will be a Big 12 team in order to preview the Champions Bowl—with the upcoming playoff format, the Sugar Bowl will play host to the SEC and Big 12 champions.

So that's why most assume Oregon gets the at-large bid for the Fiesta Bowl.

But its opponent isn't a lock.

No. 6 Kansas State and No. 11 Oklahoma are tied atop the Big 12 at 7-1 in conference play, so KSU needs a win this weekend to solidify its championship.

If it loses its game and Oklahoma wins its, then the Sooners become the Big 12 champions.

Both teams are facing potential upsets. KSU squares off with No. 18 Texas—the Longhorns have been inconsistent all season long, but after what happened against Baylor, nothing's a lock for the Wildcats.

Oklahoma, meanwhile, is squaring off with defensively savvy TCU. The Horned Frogs are hot off an upset over Texas and are looking for a marquee win in their inaugural Big 12 season.

Whichever team Oregon does end up playing, it should be quite the shootout.

KSU and Collin Klein have been shredding defenses all season long, averaging over 40 points per game, and it'll be the most balanced attack Oregon has faced this season.

An interesting side story to this game is that it was supposed to be played during the regular season, but it was later canceled.

Normally, that wouldn't be a big deal, except for earlier this season when KSU was No. 2 and Oregon was No. 3. It could have been the difference maker for a BCS contender, and now it's a potential bowl game.

If Oregon faces Oklahoma, it'll be a great battle of run versus pass. Oregon ranks third in rushing yards per game (323.2), while Oklahoma ranks fifth in passing (350.2).

The last time Oregon faced a prolific passing attack was against USC, and that final score was 62-51.

The only way Oregon doesn't see a high-scoring affair is if it somehow gets matched against Florida in the Sugar Bowl.

That game would certainly represent another interesting matchup, pitting Florida's hard-nosed defense against Oregon's electrifying offense.

No matter who Oregon inevitably faces, it should be a great game.

If it faces a Big 12 team, it will be an electric battle of the offenses. And if it faces Florida, it should be a hard-fought old-school versus new-school kind of battle.

But for now, we sit back and wait for the Big 12 to be decided.

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