Thursday, January 3, 2013
Good Luck Ducks: The Fiesta
One of the things I hate the most about college football is the incredibly long break between the end of the regular season and the bowl games. Bowl games have become so dragged out that they turned into a season into themselves. I can't blame it all on the complacency that comes from Oregon's fourth straight appearance in a "god tier" bowl game, but were it not the final time to catch amazing players like Kenjon Barner, Michael Clay and Kiko Alonso as Ducks, I would be really underwhelmed about tonight's game.
It's also, probably, the last time we'll see Chip Kelly roaming the sidelines in his 'O' visor. I don't think it's a foregone conclusion that Kelly is gone after today's game, and I swear that's less the Ducks fan in me than it is knowing that Chip plays his cards close to the vest. He's also often showed that he doesn't always take the most popular or best assumed route when it comes to important decisions that he's faced. Still, I'm well aware of the scary new reality that will face Oregon fans when the day comes as it well could very soon.
Oregon faces a dangerous Kansas State team today, but it's a team that should be overmatched based on the way the Ducks have performed as well as the experience they have. This is not as close of a matchup as the rankings would indicate. The Wildcats have a Heisman finalist in quarterback Collin "Don't Call Me Calvin" Klein. They've been just as opportunistic as Oregon at forcing and capitalizing on turnovers. They have talent on both sides of the ball. I just don't think they have what it takes to stop every threat the Ducks can throw at them, and Oregon can hurt a team in so many ways that it's scary. And no matter what is being said to the media, I think some of the more experienced Ducks players sense the end of an era is coming. Kansas State may well be the final team devoured by Chip's relentless offensive machine.
Oregon's last trip to the Fiesta Bowl (2002) ended in a rout over an undermatched Colorado team. It also led to the first major tweaking of the BCS system, which if played out again would have put Oregon in the title game.
Game time is 5:30 PST with national coverage on ESPN. Go Ducks!