PHOENIX — There are few statistical categories where Oregon and Kansas State are farther apart than penalty yards. The Ducks are one of the most penalized teams in the nation and the Wildcats are among the least penalized teams in the nation, but that may say more about the difference in Pac-12 and Big 12 officiating than it does about the difference between the two teams.
The Ducks rank 116th out of 120 FBS teams with 74.25 penalty yards per game, but it’s interesting to note who else is at the bottom of the pack in that department. Just behind the Ducks, with 79.92 penalty yard per game is Louisiana Tech, but the last three teams — the three most penalized teams in the nation in terms of yards per game — are all Pac-12 teams.
USC and Washington State aren’t far behind Oregon and are also both ranked 100th or worse in penalty yards per game, and Stanford, Oregon State, Utah, Colorado and Arizona are also in the bottom half of the nation in penalty yards. If you’re keeping score, that’s 11 Pac-12 teams ranked in the bottom half of the country in penalty yards. Only Arizona State has been successful in limiting penalty yards this season and is ranked 10th in the nation.
Meanwhile, Kansas State is ranked third nationally in penalty yards per game and is one of three Big 12 teams in the top 25 nationally.
The Fiesta Bowl will be officiated by an ACC crew, the same conference that officiated last year’s Rose Bowl. And while some Duck fans were excited about a game that wouldn’t feature Pac-12 officials the ACC crew still flagged the Ducks seven times for 56 yards on the game, just nine fewer yards than Oregon was averaging that season.