So much has been made of the canceled home-and-home series between Oregon and Kansas State, it’s become a bit of a soap opera.
The two teams were supposed to play in 2011 and 2012, but when Oregon was faced with the opportunity to start their 2011 season against LSU, Oregon asked to move the series back one year. Kansas State asked for the series to be canceled instead, and Oregon agreed.
For Oregon, at the time, the LSU game was an opportunity that couldn’t be passed up. In recent years, the Ducks had been steadily rising in the national conversation, and after the loss to Auburn in the BCS National Championship Game, Oregon was desperate to show they could hang with the SEC.
No one knew that a year later missing out on playing Kansas State could be what holds them out of the national championship again.
Earlier this season Kansas State passed Oregon in the BCS poll, taking the No. 1 spot in the rankings. While this may seem absurd as the Pac-12 is considered superior to the Big 12, Pac-12 schools beat each other up this year, diminishing the wins Oregon had.
USC, a preseason title contender, lost so many games that when Oregon beat them it held little weight. A similar situation arose against Oregon State, Arizona and Washington. The Pac-12 was full of so much talent, it was hard for the cream to rise to the top.
This placed emphasis on the Ducks’ out-of-conference schedule, which was something of a cakewalk. Had Oregon started off the season against Kansas State, things could have been different. A win against that strong of an out-of-conference opponent would have given Oregon a strong case to be ranked above Alabama and receive a bid for the Natty.
A loss would have been an added blemish to what was a magical season for Duck fans.
Many in the media have blamed Kansas State for backing down, calling them chickens. Maybe head coach Bill Snyder was scared to come into Autzen. Maybe he didn’t know that he would have a team that by all indications could hang with the Ducks, home or away. Maybe rescheduling was just too much of a burden. It’s impossible to know for sure.
What’s more important than throwing blind accusations at Kansas State is that these two teams finally get to play.
At one point, this was favored to be the title matchup. The hype was built around the two teams having an offensive showdown, ushering in a new era of college football, while the SEC gets placed on the back burner.
While things didn’t play out that way, a Fiesta Bowl matchup is more than enough to make fans drool.