The 2013 Fiesta Bowl features an exciting Pac-12 – Big 12 match-up with the 4th ranked Ducks of Oregon (11-1) taking on the 5th ranked Kansas State Wildcats (11-1) at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ this Thursday night (8:30pm ET). This bowl game is the only one aside from the national championship game to feature two top-10 teams. Oregon is 7-5 ATS this season, and the Ducks have covered in 6 of their final 7 regular season games, the lone exception their 17-14 upset loss to Stanford which knocked them out of the national championship picture. Kansas State is 9-2-1 ATS this season, and the Wildcats were also a strong team against the spread to finish out the season, covering in 5 of their final 6 games.
The Oregon offense ranks among the nation’s best with a running game led by back Kenjon Barner (1,624 yards, 21 TDs) that was third in the nation in rushing offense with 323.3 yards per contest. The Ducks scored at least 40 points in every game except their loss to Stanford and rank 2nd in the nation in scoring offense with 50.8 points per game and 4th in total offense with 550.1 yards per game. Quarterback Marcus Mariota (30 TD passes, 6 INTs), was an All-PAC 12 selection first team pick in his first season as a starter. Defensively Oregon ranks 26th in scoring defense with 22 PPG allowed and 48th in total defense with 381.7 YPG allowed.
The Kansas State offense is led by dual-threat quarterback Collin Klein (2,490 yards passing, 15 TDs; 890 yards rushing, 22 TDs) who finished third in the Heisman Trophy race. The Wildcats rank 9th among FBS teams in scoring offense with an average of 40.7 PPG and rank 55th in total offense with 410.4 YPG. The K-State defense ranks 24th among FBS teams with 21.1 PPG allowed and 43rd in total defense with 374.5 YPG allowed.
Oregon vs. Kansas State Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Oregon Ducks -9
@ Kansas State Wildcats +9
Over 75.5 (-110)
Under 75.5 (-110)
Oregon vs. Kansas State Pick:
Oregon is 7-0ATS in their last 7 games on grass, 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games overall and 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games against teams with a winning record. Kansas State is 3-0-1 ATS in their last 5 games on grass, 18-7-1 ATS in their last 26 games overall and 10-21 ATS in their last 31 non-conference games. The over is 4-1 in Oregon’s last 5 non-conference games, 37-18 in their last 55 games overall and 4-1 in their last 5 non-conference games. The over is 4-1 in K-State’s last 5 games overall, 5-2 in their last 7 non-conference games and 4-0 in their last 4 Thursday games. Oregon is making their 8th straight appearance in a bowl game and 4th straight in a BCS bowl game after winning the Rose Bowl last season by a score of 45-38 over Wisconsin. K-State has played in 4 bowl games since 2002, losing all of them including a 29-16 loss to Arkansas in last season’s Cotton Bowl.
Both teams have very prolific offensive attacks and multiple explosive players that can score any time they touch the ball. The Wildcat’s defense has been strong against the run for the most part, holding opponents to 99.3 YPG, but they were shredded for 320 yards on the ground in their loss to Baylor and have not faced an offensive as explosive as the Ducks this season. Oregon has been susceptible to opposing running games as well, allowing more than 190 yards on the ground in 4 of their final 7 games. This should be another high-scoring Fiesta Bowl Game much like last season’s classic match up between Stanford and Oklahoma State, win 41-38 by the Cowboys. Both teams should be able to score near or above their average output, and with the spread a little too high for me to recommend taking the Ducks to cover, the call here it to take the over with two of the most prolific offensive units in the country facing off.