The Oregon Ducks are likely headed for a Fiesta Bowl showdown with the Kansas State Wildcats on January 3. With two prolific offenses squaring off, it has the promise to be a highly entertaining shootout. The team that emerges victorious, though, will be the Ducks.
Thanks to a likely top-five ranking in the BCS Standings, which will be released on Sunday evening, the Ducks are in line to face the Big 12 champions in Glendale.
While KSU has former Heisman front-runner Collin Klein at quarterback, the Ducks have their own dual-threat signal caller in Marcus Mariota, who has been a revelation for Chip Kelly's offense. So the matchup at quarterback isn't at all a mismatch.
What does give the Ducks an assured edge is the depth of their backfield. Senior Kenjon Barner leads the way with his 21 rushing touchdowns, and he has run for nearly as many yards as Klein and Wildcats counterpart John Hubert combined.
The versatility of De'Anthony Thomas has been exceptional and should serve as the X-factor for Oregon in this potential clash. Thomas has run for 686 yards with an average of 7.6 yards per carry and also caught a team-high 41 receptions for 385 yards and 15 total TDs.
The Wildcats simply don't have a weapon like that—nor an answer for it on their defense. Just a few weeks ago, Kansas State was devastated by a spread-option attack in Waco against Baylor, getting blown off the field 52-24. That was in spite of facing one of the worst defenses in the nation.
While Klein and Co. bounced back against the enigmatic Texas Longhorns, they will face a significantly greater challenge in the Ducks.
It's not as if the Wildcats will be totally shut down; they will still light up the scoreboard. The combination of Klein and Hubert are too good to be completely stifled.
But Kelly will continue to showcase his revolutionary offense to prospective NFL franchises eager to swoop him up.
His players likely know the end is near for Kelly's time with the Ducks, and the recent chatter generated by NFL Network's Michael Lombardi indicates that Kelly is the very top head coaching candidate for teams to be in the market for one this offseason:
A Fiesta Bowl victory will not only be a fitting sendoff for the departing Ducks players, but will also put an exclamation point on what will likely cap an explosive, exciting tenure for the Oregon head coach.