It’s finally here.
Oregon and Kansas State. Speed against power and discipline. While many pundits remain traditional and call the Fiesta Bowl matchup the best game outside of the National Championship, Oregon and Kansas State have the potential to play a far more exciting game than the game that will be played in Miami.
The BCS National Championship Game features two strong defenses, two mediocre offenses and two teams that haven’t looked exceptional in recent weeks.
For Oregon fans, a shot at taking down an SEC powerhouse is tempting, but a matchup against Kansas State after the initial in-season game was cancelled should be all it’s hyped up to be.
With a month to prepare, Kansas State will spend their time trying to adjust to the speed of the Oregon offense. It is no secret that speed is what put Oregon on the map of college football. The Ducks’ ability to break through gaps and race to the endzone is unparalleled.
Wildcats head coach Bill Snyder will undoubtedly look to the tape of the Stanford-Oregon game to study how Stanford shut down Oregon’s running game.
What Stanford did, and what K-State will look to do, is get incredible play from their linebackers. Oregon players are notorious for making linebackers miss tackles, but Stanford’s gang tackled Oregon on nearly every running attempt. They hit Kenjon Barner and De’Anthony Thomas at the point of attack, refusing to allow the big play.
Luckily for the Wildcats, they have a beast in linebacker Arthur Brown. Brown is one of the quicker linebackers in the country and has excelled and going side to side, essentially covering the field from sideline to sideline, stopping players from breaking into the secondary.
Not only will Oregon’s offense have their hands full with Brown, their defense will be faced with stopping the triple threat that is the K-State offense. Del Miller and Dana Dimel, co-offensive coordinators for the Wildcats, effectively run three offenses: one when quarterback Collin Klein is under center, one when he is in shotgun formation, and one version run outside of the pistol.
Aside from that, the Ducks will have to deal with the pure speed and athleticism of Klein, a Heisman finalist. Similar to how Oregon has made defenses look inept, so too has Klein. Klein has thrown for 15 scores and rushed for 22 more. Oregon hasn’t played against a quarterback with this skill set in 2012 and with a month to prepare, Klein has the ability to torch the Oregon defense.
That same month of prep time will also be crucial for the Ducks as their decimated defense will have time to get healthy.
The two teams will face off in Glendale, Ariz., on Jan. 3.