In a meeting of teams that blew chances to play in the BCS title game, the 11-1 Oregon Ducks and the 11-1 Kansas State Wildcats meet in the 42nd edition of the Fiesta Bowl. And most sportsbooks in Vegas and online believe Oregon has the biggest motivation here, opening the Fiesta Bowl odds with the Ducks favored by eight points. In the early betting, the Ducks got bumped to -9.5, with a total of 76.
The game goes live Thursday, Jan. 3 in suburban Phoenix (8:30 pm ET, ESPN). Full Fiesta Bowl matchup stats and trends here.
To review the one-loss downfalls of each team, Oregon was supposed to contend with USC for the Pac-12 championship and a berth in the BCS title game. And the Ducks almost got there. They started 10-0 this season, winning nine of those first 10 games by at least three touchdowns. But then came that wet night in Eugene when Oregon gave up a late Stanford score to send the game to OT, where the Ducks lost ,17-14, on a Cardinal field goal.
OU then knocked off Oregon State, 38-24, in the Civil War to end the regular season, but without help from elsewhere the Ducks missed out on both the Pac-12 championship game and a spot in the BCS title bout.
High-powered Oregon, led by QB Marcus Mariota, who compiled a 30/6 TD/INT ratio, and RB Kenjon Barner, who ran for 1,600 yards and 21 scores, averaged 551 yards and just under 51 points per game this season.
K-State, meanwhile, figured to have a nice team again this season, but with the additions of TCU and West Virginia to the Big 12 an upper-division finish seemed about as much as the 'Cats might hope for. Instead, Coach Synder's troops also won their first 10 games, knocking off teams like Miami, Oklahoma, the Mountaineers, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and the Horned Frogs along the way.
But on the same day the Ducks lost to Stanford, the Wildcats went to Baylor and got bombed, 52-24. K-State then finished its regular season with a 42-24 win over Texas, which gave the 'Cats the Big 12 title, led by Heisman candidate QB Collin Klein, who accounted for 37 touchdowns, K-State averaged 410 yards and 41 points per game this season.
The Wildcats have lost their last four bowl games. Last year they fell to Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl, 29-16. Oregon had lost its previous two bowl games, but beat Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl last year, 45-38.
Historically, this game has gone to the dogs. Underdogs are 5-1 ATS in the past 6 Fiesta Bowls. But in this case, he underdog owns an ugly bowl trend as Kansas State is a bankroll-bleeding 1-6 ATS in its past 7 bowl games.
Free Fiesta Bowl Pick: We love Coach Snyder, but his Wildcats have actually been outgained each of their last five games. So we'll give the points and dine with the Ducks in the desert, courtesy of PickShark.com.
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