No. 4 Oregon is headed to Glendale, Arizona for a BCS bowl game for the second time in three years, only unlike in 2010 against Auburn, this winter's matchup with No. 5 Kansas State won't be for the BCS national championship.
The Ducks (11-1) are solid favorites over the Wildcats (11-1) coming in (-8 according to Sporting News), and rightfully so given their offensive firepower and array of weapons.
But before kickoff arrives on Jan. 3, let's take a look at some bold predictions for Oregon in its Fiesta Bowl showdown with Kansas State.
Kenjon Barner Will Surpass 200 Yards Rushing
Oregon's leading rusher, senior Kenjon Barner has rushed for over 1,600 yards and 21 touchdowns this season. Barner is averaging well over 100 yards per game this season, and has cracked the 200-yard mark twice already this season.
Barner actually rushed for 321 yards against USC in November, which leads me to believe he'll have another huge game in a colossal matchup against Kansas State.
Kansas State's rush defense only ranks 34th in yards per carry allowed, and has yet to face off against a ground attack as lethal as Oregon's.
With Barner boasting tons of big game experience and plenty of teammates who can run, the true challenge will be on the Wildcats' shoulders. They must find a way to contain not only Barner, but also quarterback Marcus Mariota and do-it-all playmaker De'Anthony Thomas this January.
Oregon Will Turn the Ball Over Twice
Kansas State boasts the best turnover margin in the FBS this season, at +22. The Wildcats don't turn the ball over a lot but instead force plenty of their own on defense. Kansas State has 32 takeaways and only 10 giveaways through 12 games.
On the other side, the Ducks will be susceptible to committing turnovers considering the fact that they've given the ball up 19 times in 12 games this season.
It won't be a perfect game from Oregon, and I expect the Ducks to turn the ball over at least twice in their Fiesta Bowl matchup with Kansas State.
Still, Oregon has a decent defense and one capable of forcing a turnover or two itself.
Oregon Will Win
In a big-time bowl matchup that is sure to come down to offense, why not Oregon?
The Ducks boast the third-best rushing attack in football (323.3 yards per game) and are scoring more points than all but one FBS team this season (50.8 per game).
Plus, Oregon's only loss this season came against a Stanford team that has shut down its opponent's running game all season long. Sure, Kansas State has a quality run defense, but its one that is giving up nearly 120 yards on the ground per game this year.
Look for the Oregon defense to do just enough against Colin Klein and the Wildcats' offense to allow the Ducks to outscore Kansas State in a wild shootout in the desert.
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