It is now just a day away from the big game, and it is time for the sports staff members to make their picks on the game.
Mark Kern, sports editor
For 27 seniors, this is the final opportunity for the team to put on the K-State jersey. For senior quarterback Collin Klein, this is his final chance to go out and show the country that he was more than deserving of the Heisman trophy. For senior wide receiver Chris Harper, a chance to beat his old school.
With the opportunities for every single K-State player to finish off the greatest season in school history, I fully expect the Wildcats to do the things they needed to get the victory. Behind a big game from Klein, the Wildcats will do just enough to get the victory, winning 38-34 to cap off the amazing 2012 season.
Mike Stanton, asst. news editor
Ten weeks into the 2012 season, Oregon and K-State were on track to play in the national title game before being upset by conference rivals. When the teams take the field in the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz. on Thursday, both programs will try to celebrate the new year with a big BCS victory.
This isn’t Oregon’s first trip to the rodeo. The Ducks are playing in their fourth straight BCS game, including a national title appearance two seasons ago. K-State, on the other hand, will make their first BCS appearance since the 2003 season.
This matchup features two of the best head coaches in the game. Both Chip Kelly and Bill Snyder will have their teams fully prepared. However, after playing a tougher regular-season schedule, the Wildcats will have an edge over the Ducks.
I expect K-State’s defense, aided by the return of junior safety Ty Zimmerman from an injury, to make a huge statement and limit the explosive Oregon offense, while the Wildcats one-two punch of Collin Klein and junior running back John Hubert will put points on the board and run time off the clock. K-State takes the Fiesta Bowl, 31-24.
John Zetmeir, staff writer
Call it karma, fate or something else but the K-State Wildcats and the Oregon Ducks have been on a crash course to play against each other all season. At one point these two teams were supposed match-up in the regular season against each other that got cancelled due to a scheduling conflict. After that it appeared the two teams would meet each other in the national championship game, losses by both teams on the same night prevented that as well.
So now you could say it is fitting that these two powerhouses finally will face off tonight. The Wildcats will do just enough in what is sure to be a game filled with touchdowns to get the victory, winning 42-38 to cap off the great season.
Nicolas Wahl, staff writer
It’s the matchup we’ve all been waiting for, Kansas State vs. Oregon, just not in the same location or with quite the same amount of stakes as the BCS National Championship- which seemed nearly inevitable a little over a month ago- would offer.
Though it isn’t for all the marbles, the 2013 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl is still a game featuring two 1-loss teams that would have most assuredly been involved in any type of national title playoff if we were lucky enough that such a thing actually existed.
Both teams have high-powered offenses that do a majority of their damage on the ground. Both teams play disciplined, assignment-sound defense, causing turnovers with regularity. Both teams maintain a strong emphasis on special teams, but while the Ducks and Wildcats both often stop opposing punt returners dead in their tracks, only K-State can boast the nation’s top return squad.
The Wildcats are No. 1 in the nation in both average kickoff and punt return average. This will be the key to the game and look for K-State to amass more of these “hidden yards” than the Ducks.
To add to the Wildcat advantage is the motivation factor. Oregon, who two years ago played in a national title game, has been to BCS bowl games in each of head coach Chip Kelly’s four seasons at the helm.
K-State will simply see this as a bigger, more important game than will the Ducks. If the Wildcats can get a lead early don’t be surprised if Oregon wilts. My prediction? K-State takes it, 45-28, and secures the university’s first ever BCS bowl victory.