The Fiesta Bowl will be a battle of high-powered offenses between the No. 6 Oregon Ducks and the No. 5 Kansas State Wildcats. But with more versatility and more weapons at their disposal, the Ducks' attack will be too much for their Big 12 opponent to handle.
No one can deny the prowess of Wildcats QB Collin Klein, who was considered the Heisman Trophy front-runner at one point in the season. RB John Hubert is also no slouch, as he's run for 892 yards and 15 touchdowns despite Klein's outstanding year.
That said, the Ducks have their own dual-threat QB in freshman Marcus Mariota, and a senior running back in Kenjon Barner who has run for nearly as many yards as Klein and Hubert combined.
To continue with the "more weapons" point, Oregon has Byron Marshall, who has run for 442 yards and five touchdowns, and a massive X-factor in De'Anthony Thomas.
The running back not only leads the team with 41 receptions, but has also run for 686 yards on an average of seven yards per carry and has 11 TDs, second only to Barner's 21.
Typically the argument could be made that Kansas State faced a tougher schedule. That very factor was a big reason Oregon wasn't ranked as high early in the season despite routinely putting 50 points on the board each Saturday.
Upon further examination, the Wildcats' schedule wasn't all that daunting. Other than a road trip to face the Oklahoma Sooners—no easy task, to be sure—the slate was pretty favorable. Of their opponents, only the fickle Texas Longhorns and No. 12 Sooners are in the current BCS Top 25.
The Ducks blew out rival and current No. 13 Oregon State on the road, and their only loss came at the hands of the Stanford Cardinal, by three points at home and in overtime. Stanford is ranked sixth and is gearing up for a Rose Bowl matchup with Wisconsin.
This is simply not a good matchup for Kansas State. The only similar up-tempo, no-huddle spread offense the Wildcats faced in 2012 was that of the Baylor Bears. That road trip to Waco wound up costing KSU its No. 1 ranking, as Bears QB Nick Florence torched the Wildcats defense in a 52-24 blowout victory.
All this points to one thing: Strength of schedule is irrelevant, and it's clear which offense has looked more explosive throughout the year between the Ducks and the Wildcats.
Kansas State couldn't even remotely defend the only other speed attack with an athletic quarterback they faced all year, and it should be no different against Mariota and Co. Chip Kelly's penchant for lightning-quick, hard-hitting run plays will wear the Wildcats defense out and result in a big Fiesta Bowl win for the Ducks on January 3 in Glendale.
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