After a long several weeks, we are FINALLY here! The Tostito’s Fiesta Bowl is set for Jan. 3rd at 5:30pm PST in Glendale, AZ, and this gridiron girl will be there! As long as all my gadgets work, I’ll be posting/tweeting live- so tune in.
I know this was supposed to be the BCS National Title game match-up, but we’ve moved on from that. It’s time to get your game day festivities planned, your party food ready and game day outfit picked out! More importantly though, it’s time to watch the battle of two of two incredible teams, with two amazing leaders- Marcus “Super Mari-o-ta” and (Collin) Optimus Klein. Now if those nicknames don’t make for good headlines, I don’t know what does!
It’s no secret I’ve been a huge Mariota fan this season, and honestly, I’m ecstatic about this game. All season long, SportsCenter has been in love with Collin Klein and Johnny Manziel, this year’s Heisman winner. I’m not trying to take anything away from those guys, but if you ask me, Mariota has been unfairly left out. He’s had a stellar rookie season and I can’t wait for him to shine on Thursday. These games can tend to rattle the best of players, but I do believe Mariota, with his proven grace and “island finesse”, with steal the show. Call me crazy, but his stats are nearly as good as the hyped-up quarterbacks, and he only played in about half of most games this season- just sayin’.
Now that I’ve finished my 2013 MariotaForHeisman campaign, let’s get down to business…
This game is no joke. K-State (and when I say K-State, I mean Collin Klein) is no joke. This will not be an easy game for the Ducks. No question. Each team brings their own strengths and honestly, it’s hard to tell who will come out on top. Each team was undefeated until week 12 of the season, when both lost their one and only game- Oregon by 3 to Stanford, and K-State by A LOT to Baylor. Without a doubt, each team has been studying film from each game to figure out the other team’s weakness. K-State, like every other team on the planet, will TRY to slow Oregon down. (Have fun with that K-State). On the flip side, Oregon will have to slow down the now infamous, Optimus Klein (Ahem, Michael Clay and Kiko Alonso). I’m not sure which will be harder, but here’s the deal: Even if Oregon doesn’t slow Klein down, they should be able to match any points he puts up…plus some, which should give Oregon the edge. K-State really relies heavily on Collin Klein to run the show because they don’t have a bunch of stars running on the field like Oregon does. If Mariota has a bad day, (which he probably won’t, but if he did…) super star running backs, Barner and DAT can pick up the slack.
How the Ducks Could Lose
Not that we want to think about it, but…there are a couple of things that could create issues for the Ducks.
1. Time of Possession. If K-State runs the ball and drains the clock, keeping Oregon’s offense off the field, Oregon will obviously have a tough time running up the score board. This was a key to Stanford’s win over the Ducks. In theory, that sounds scary but I don’t think we have to worry much about it. Stanford has some good running backs who can get that job done. I’m not sure K-State does.
2. Struggles in the Secondary. I have talked about this all season. The secondary’s job is to keep receivers from catching the ball. For the past couple of years, especially since the loss of Safety, John Boyett, Oregon has really struggled in this area. They will have to be firing on all cylinders for this game, going up against one of the top QB’s in the country. If they can’t get in the way of those deep passes, Oregon could be in trouble. (Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, you got this!)
Why the Ducks Won’t Lose (*knock on wood*)
1. Speed. Oregon’s high speed, no-huddle offense, gets the job done. Most teams have been unable to stop Chip’s masterpiece and I would imagine with a month to prepare, our Ducks will more than ready for an up-tempo performance.
2. Underrated Superstars. I know, I know, I’m back on the soap box. I know our guys have gotten some national love here and there, but it hasn’t been consistent. I don’t think they get the credit they deserve. Fortunately our stars, like Barner and Mariota, are silent champions. They are quiet and humble, beating opponents one play a time.
Here’s to a fun Fiesta Bowl game day Duck fans! I’m sure we could spend all day breaking down stats, and predicting who’s defense/offense is better, but I’ll leave that to SportsCenter, Jerry Allen, Dan Patrick, and my personal favorites, Rob Moseley, Kirk Herbstreit and Jesse Palmer… this girl’s got a plane to catch!