Oregon Football: How Ducks Match Up Against Kansas State, Oklahoma and Florida
Oregon's regular season has come to an end as they prepare for their last game of the 2012-2013 season. With their national title hopes being crushed by the Stanford Cardinal and ending the Ducks' three-year reign of dominance within the Pac-12, Oregon is most likely looking at a berth in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
With the Associated Press reporting the Ducks are likely to get a spot in the Fiesta Bowl (h/t Washington Post), the big question is: Who will they play?
Three teams that have been mentioned to get the remaining spot are: Kansas State, Oklahoma and Florida.
So far, the most likely of those matchups is the previously No. 1-ranked Kansas State Wildcats. All KSU has to do is pick up a win over the horror show that is the Texas Longhorns this coming Saturday.
The Wildcats are led by senior quarterback Collin Klein, who was the front-runner for the historic Heisman Trophy before Kansas State's loss to Baylor in the latter part of their schedule.
Listed at 6'5", 226 pounds, Klein presents not only a decent passing game, but an elite running game that most teams struggle with. Already in 2012, he has amassed 3,093 yards and has scored 36 of the team's 50 offensive touchdowns.
Klein's talent isn't enough to put them atop of the charts, though. Kansas state is ranked No. 31 in rushing offense and No. 84 in passing offense. With Oregon ranked at No. 63 in passing offense, the Wildcats aren't too far behind, but the real factor isn't the passing game, it's the rushing game.
Though Kansas State is ranked at No. 31 with over 200 yards per game, Oregon ranks in at No. 4, with close to 325 yards per game on the ground.
It's a good thing K-State has a rushing defense that is ranked No. 18 because otherwise, they would stand no chance in this matchup. The Wildcat defense has let up only 121 yards a game this season in a Big-12 Conference that is known for its offensive prowess.
In the past two weeks, the Ducks have faced very potent rushing defenses in Stanford and Oregon State. Stanford held the Ducks under 200 yards rushing and took home a win, while the Beavers let up 430 yards on the ground in a 48-24 loss to Oregon. These two matchups are a testament to showing that you have to corral Oregon's rush before it gets out of hand.
It would be interesting to see how Kansas State's defense would hold up against Oregon's notoriously powerful offense.
Another likely matchup, with the idea that Kansas State loses to Texas, would be Oregon vs. Oklahoma.
The Sooners are ranked No. 11 in the BCS, with two losses to a very good No. 6 Kansas State team and the No. 1 Notre Dame.
Oklahoma ranks seventh in scoring offense this season mainly due to their air assault led by quarterback Landry Jones. Four different receivers in the Sooner offense have over 500 yards receiving this season. The Oregon Ducks don't have a single receiver that has 500 yards yet.
Who would you like to see Oregon play?
This game would definitely be a shootout, with both teams in the top 10 for scoring offense. My guess is that this matchup would come down to defense.
Both teams have had their ups and downs on defense this year.
Oklahoma: No. 21 passing defense, No. 86 rushing defense, No. 48 scoring defense.
Oregon: No. 60 passing defense, No. 47 rushing defense, No. 27 scoring defense.
If this game is played, it will come down to turnovers and both defenses making stops when needed.
Then there is Florida, the far-fetched matchup that I believe most Oregon fans would prefer to see. This is only due to the fact that the Gators are an SEC team, which would give the Ducks another opportunity to beat an SEC powerhouse...or choke—again.
Duck fans are tired of hearing SEC supporters call Oregon weak and overrated, so any chance to take down one of the southeast "big boys" is a national championship in and of itself.
Specifically looking at the plausible matchup between Oregon and Florida, it's tough to decide who would win when throwing out bias.
With Florida being such a defensively strong team, I'm reminded of the Oregon vs. LSU game last season. The Gators are No. 16 in passing defense, No. 6 in rushing defense and third in scoring defense. Their only problem is offense, where they fail to rank in the top 30 in rushing offense and the top 100 in passing offense.
If Oregon wanted to win this matchup, they would need to pack the box with eight defensive players to stop Mike Gillislee (Florida running back) and put faith in Terrance Mitchell and Ifo Ekpre-Olomu to cover the near non-existent passing game of Florida.
Each one of these three games would be exciting to watch.
It will be interesting to see who actually ends up playing against Oregon.
Whoever it is, they better start conditioning.
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