Finally, we start getting into the meat of the bowl season. Over the next two weeks, teams will realize the payoff for their superb regular season play as they enjoy the perks and swag of their bowl appearances.
Watching the Oregon State Beavers stroll San Antonio's divine River Walk in advance of their Alamo Bowl matchup with Texas, it's easy to realize how fun moments like this can motivate individual players to want more and better next year.
The Fiesta Bowl, one of the jewels in the Bowl Championship Series crown, will show the Oregon Ducks and the Kansas State Wildcats a gem of a good time. But there is much more at stake for the Ducks than just a fun romp in the Valley of the Sun.
The outcome of the Fiesta Bowl will go a long way towards determining the Associated Press (AP) preseason rankings in 2013. If the Ducks still have returning to the national championship as a goal, it's imperative that Oregon be ranked in the preseason top five...and the higher, the better.
Oregon started last season ranked No. 5 in the AP poll; can the Ducks top that ranking in 2013?
Here's what needs to happen.