Oregon -7½ over Kansas State: College Bowl Picks

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, January 3, 2013 5:00 AM GMT

In what looked like it would be the BCS Championship for a while, Oregon and Kansas State meet in the Fiesta Bowl instead and Oregon’s team speed should make the difference.

In a matchup that looked like it would take place in the BCS Championship Game when Alabama lost, the Oregon Ducks (11-1, 5-0 away) are instead taking on the Kansas State Wildcats (11-1, 4-1 away) in the Fiesta Bowl from University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ Thursday at 8:30 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPN.

The point spread at Pinnacle Spots has Oregon as a decided favorite for this contest with the current line at -7½ with odds of -103.

Both of these teams were sitting at 10-0 and appeared to be on a collision course to meet for the BCS Championship as Alabama had lost to Texas A&M on November 10th, but then everything changed the night of November 17th when, within the span of a about an hour, Kansas State was blown out at Baylor 52-24 and Oregon lost at home to Stanford 17-14 in overtime.

That ended up being the only time these teams tasted defeat all year, so now here they are squaring off in a BCS bowl, albeit not the one there were hoping to meet in.

The Ducks rebounded nicely from that lone defeat, as they destroyed the rival Oregon State Beavers 48-24 in the regular season finale. Oregon accumulated 570 total yards and 430 rushing yards in that contest while holding the Beavers to 393 yards, and the scary part is that the performance was nothing out of the ordinary for the Ducks, and that amazing team speed is something that Kansas State has not seen all year and it is what gives Oregon the edge here.

Stanford was the only defense to slow the Ducks down this season, as they averaged 50.8 points per game and ranked fourth in the land in total offense with 550.1 yards per game. They also ranked second in the nation in rushing with 323.2 yards per game on the ground and they led the world in rushing average with an incredible 6.1 yards per carry!

Besides that great running attack led by Kenjon Barner, Oregon also has a great dual threat at quarterback in Marcus Mariota, who passed for 2511 yards with a fantastic ratio of 30 touchdowns against six interceptions, and he also added 690 rushing yards on 7.0 yards per carry with four rushing touchdowns. And he did all that while starting from opening week as a true freshman!

The underrated Oregon defense has just as much speed as the offense does, as the team’s 50th ranking in total defense is deceptive because the defense is on the field so long with the offense scoring so quickly. More telling is that the Ducks ranked 26th in scoring defense at 22.0 points per game and 25th in yards per play overall at an 5.0 yards per snap..

Kansas State had the Heisman Trophy frontrunner for a while in quarterback Collin Klein, but he was not the same after getting injured in the ninth game of the season vs. Oklahoma State. Klein did not miss any games but he was not as electrifying the last three games as he had been up until that point and that had a trickle-down effect over the entire offense.

In fact, Kansas State was outgained in each of the last three games, first struggling to get by TCU 23-10, followed by the blowout loss at Baylor, and then even in the season ending 42-24 home win over Texas,  the Wildcats were outgained by 61 total yards and 130 passing yards, taking advantage of three Longhorns’ turnovers.

The fact that Baylor was the closest team that Kansas State faced all year in matching Oregon’s offensive potency is certainly a bad sign for the Cats given that result, so look for the superior team speed by the Ducks on both sides of the ball to make the difference in a double-digit win.

[gameodds]6/133534/238-19-93-92-1096/us[/gameodds]

College Football Pick: Oregon -7½ (-103)