Fiesta Bowl Could Be Most Entertaining Of Them All

There have already been some memorable bowl games this season. There was Texas’ stunning fourth-quarter rally to beat Oregon State in the Alamo Bowl. There was Clemson’s last-second field goal to get by LSU in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. The Holiday Bowl matchup between two of the nation’s best offenses ended up with a combined 75 points, with Baylor beating UCLA 49-26.

But Thursday night’s Fiesta Bowl on ESPN between No. 4 Oregon and No. 5 Kansas State has a chance to trump all others.

It’s a matchup of teams both ranked in the top-10 nationally in scoring – the Ducks are second at 50.83 points per game while the Wildcats are 10th at 40.67. Oregon features the country’s No. 5 rusher in tailback Kenjon Barner (135.33 yards per game). Kansas State features dual threat quarterback and Heisman Trophy finalist Collin Klein.  It’s a showdown of one-loss teams that could each make a case for playing in next week’s BCS championship game.

“When you look at Oregon’s style of offense, Kansas State with the no-name defense – can they slow Oregon down?” FOX Sports analyst Charles Davis said. “That’s a question mark and a point of intrigue. If you go over to the other side, Kansas State’s offense is more execution-style – bruising running game first, throw the ball off of play action against an Oregon defense that is lighter and more adaptable to more of a spread style. There is a lot of points of intrigue here.”

The Ducks and Wildcats were each in position to play for the national title before each suffered a loss on the same night in November – Oregon to Stanford and Kansas State to Baylor. The teams feature defenses ranked in the middle of the pack nationally, but each has explosive offenses that could make for an entertaining night of football.

“We could have a lot of points scored,” Davis said. “Kansas State is very good. They’re better than what you know and it’s just their style of play that kind of lulls you a little bit. Oregon, you expect the flash, you expect the speed. Kansas State is not quite the same thing, but it’s there. You’re just not really aware of it until it flashes past you. So it could be an extremely entertaining game. It should be a lot of fun.”

Davis was a regular analyst for Pac-12 games this season and is also a contributor for FOX’s NFL coverage. He called the Pac-12 championship game between Stanford and UCLA and worked the NFL game between the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers the next day.

“You just prepare for what’s in front of you,” Davis said. “Because I’ve known that this is going to happen, you know that you have to keep a foot in both camps. You do your best to keep up with the NFL and you do the same in college and just hope nothing bleeds into the other broadcast.”


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