Had two games played on Nov. 17 – Oregon at home in Eugene versus Stanford and Kansas State on the road at Baylor – turned out differently than they did, the 2013 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl would have likely featured Notre Dame, while the Ducks and Wildcats would have, in all probability, ended up playing, as each had hoped, for a national title in Miami four days later.
Instead, Oregon fell to the Cardinal 17-13 in overtime while Kansas State was routed 52-24 by the Bears, leaving both teams on the outside of the national championship picture looking in and eventually destined to play each other in Tempe, Arizona on Jan. 3.
Fiesta Bowl tickets are currently averaging $334 a person, with low-end figure of $41. Considering, this is the only other bowl other than the national championship game this year in which participating teams are ranked in the top 10 or have fewer than two losses (both Oregon and Kansas State finished 11-1 in regular season), it's no surprise that is the most expensive price for admission to a Fiesta Bowl game in recent years. Tickets to 2010’s match up between Boise State and TCU average $204 a person, 2011’s contest between Oklahoma and Connecticut sat at $137 a ticket, and last year’s showdown between Okahoma State and Stanford averaged $254 a person.
Prices over the last week or so have decreased by 9%, but will more than likely begin an upward swing once again as the New Year approaches.
The Ducks, second nationally behind Louisiana Points in average points scored per game (50.8) and third in the country in rushing (323.3 yards per contest) thanks to the outstanding running of senior Kenjon Barner, hope an explosive offensive attack managed by freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota (2511 yards passing, 30 touchdowns and six interceptions through the air, 98 carries for 690 yards and four additional scores on the ground) is enough to throw off a Kansas State defense that, with the exception of the loss to Baylor, has this year played outstanding against the run, surrendering just 99.3 yards a game.
Oregon will also need to prove meticulous when it comes to ball security, with the Wildcats defensive unit forcing 31 turnovers on the year.
Kansas State brings its own brand of high-powered offense to the table, however, spearheaded as it is by dual-threat under center, Collin Klein, who finished third this year in the Heisman Trophy voting after throwing for 2,490 yards, rushing for 890 yards and totaling 37 total touchdowns – 22 of which came on the ground.
Klein, along with junior tailback John Hubert, who has so far rushed for 892 yards and 15 touchdowns on just 172 carries (an impressive 5.2 yard per carry average), helped lift the Wildcats to tenth nationally in scoring offense (KSU currently ranks 10th with 40.7 points a game) and bolstered a rushing attack that averaged nearly 200 yards on the ground per contest played in the regular season.
That latter stat should get Oregon’s attention, as the Ducks – especially in the second half of their schedule – proved susceptible to run, giving up at least 190 yards rushing in four of its final seven games.
Oregon, making its eighth consecutive bowl appearance and its fourth straight at the BCS level, meets Kansas State for the first-time ever in January’s Fiesta Bowl.
The Wildcats have fallen in each of their four games since 2002, including a 29-16 loss to Arkansas in the 2012 Cotton Bowl.