When and Where:
January 3rd, 8:30 PM, University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona.
The 11-1 Kansas State Wildcats face off against the 11-1 Oregon Ducks in Thursday nights Tostitos Fiesta Bowl in what looks to be Chip Kellys final game as head coach in Eugene. Both teams had their sights set on a national championship run but fell victim to stunning upsets on the same weekend back in November. Two of the top 10 scoring offenses in the nation make the 42nd annual Fiesta Bowl a likely shoot out that will go down to the final whistle.
Head coach Bill Snyder is Kansas State football. From his initial hire in 1988, he took the K State football program from an afterthought to a national power. The Stadium the Wildcats play in is named after him and he's one of the few college coaches to ever get a 2nd coaching term at the same school. Snyder has brought his team back into the national picture yet again with the help of Heisman finalist Collin Klein, the dual threat senior QB. Klein was a one man wrecking crew this season accounting for 3,400 total yards and 37 TD's while leading his team to its first Big 12 conference championship since 2003. The Kansas State defense is led by seniors DE Meshak Williams and LB Arthur Brown. They'll face their toughest challenge of the season in trying to stop Oregon mastermind Chip Kelly and the Ducks top 5 offense.
In 4 years as head coach for the Oregon Ducks, Chip Kelly has gone 45-7 with 4 straight BCS appearances. The NFL came calling last year, but Kelly turned down the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A year later the NFL is calling again, thanks in large part to the explosive offense that Kelly runs. Freshman QB Marcus Mariota is the units versatile leader who threw for 2,400+ yards and 30 TD's, while adding nearly 700 more yards on the ground and 4 more scores. While Mariota is vital to the system, the Ducks are powered by their explosive running game which features senior RB Kenjon Barner and jack of all trades sophomore DeAnthony Thomas. Defensively, Oregon is aggressive and athletic. Senior DE/LB/ and even sometimes nickel corner Dion Jordan is one of the more impressive players in the country and has NFL scouts attention. The versatile Jordan and the ducks defense are going to have to be at the top of their game if they're going to slow down Collin Klein.
Kansas State QB Collin Klein vs Oregon DE Dion Jordan
As Collin Klein goes, so goes the Wildcats offense. With his ability to make plays out of their well run spread option attack, Klein is a nusance for any defensive coordinator. The one player Klein must keep track of on the Oregon defense is Dion Jordan. At 6'7 the ducks athletic edge player is a presence that must be accounted for when he rushes the passer, but is also able to play in space. If Jordan can shadow Klein and be a consistent presence in the Kansas State backfield, it could be a long day for the versatile Klein.
Top 5 Draft Eligible Prospects:
1. Dion Jordan DE Oregon
A very gifted athlete. Jordan is almost surely going to be over drafted simply based on his potential. Tall, long arms, and excellent feet have scouts drooling over his high ceiling, but Jordan is a serious question mark for a lot of draftniks. His best position at the next level is still undecided and he tends to play a bit too much of a finesse game. Plays very high and makes himself an easy target for blockers. His athleticism overwhelms much of his competition at this point, but he won't get by on athleticism alone in the NFL. One of this years true "boom" or "bust" picks.
Early Projection: 1st round
NFL Comparison: Michael Johnson DE Cincinatti Bengals
2. Arthur Brown LB Kansas State
A proto-typical weak side LB. Speed and sideline to sideline playmaking ability. A solid tackler and also excels in coverage. Undersized and will get ingulfed at the point of attack. Not much versatility or scheme diversity. Strictly a 4-3 WLB.
Early Projection: mid 2nd round - mid 3rd round
NFL Comparison: Lavonte David LB Tampa Bay Buccaneers
3. Kyle Long OL Oregon
The son of Hall of famer Howie Long, Kyle Long is a 6'7 312 lb tackle prospect which scouts are going to fall in love with as the draft process moves along. Blessed with fantastic athleticism for a man his size, Long has started 10 of the Ducks 12 games this year playing at Left tackle and guard. He recently accepted an invite to the Senior Bowl where a good showing could vault him as high as the drafts second day.
Early Projection: late 3rd round-early 5th round
NFL Comparison: Jared Veldheer LT Oakland Raiders
4. Kenjon Barner RB Oregon
Very productive. An explosive playmaker who does a good job of taking what the defense gives him while also having the ability to create. A good receiver out of the back field, who can also help in the return game. Undersized and while he will never be a workhorse back in the NFL, Barner is a talented weapon with the football in his hands and in a league tilted towards scoring points, he'll always have a job.http://www.pigskinheaven.com/content...-Kenjon-Barner
Early Projection: lare 3rd round - mid 5th round
NFL Comparison: Daryl Richardson RB St. Louis
5. Collin Klein QB Kansas State
An athlete and an amazingly productive college QB, but he's more of a project in the NFL. A poor mans Tim Tebow. Simply doesn't have the polish right now to run an NFL passing attack. With the way the league is changing regarding the use of read options, pistol formation, spread attacks, etc.. Klein may find a home at QB for the right coach.
Early Projection: 5th round - 7th round
NFL Comparison: Tim Tebow QB New York Jets
Names to Remember in 2013:
1. DeAnthony Thomas RB Oregon
Think Percy Harvin. An electrifying playmaker who is a threat to score whenever he's near the football.
2. Marcus Mariota QB Oregon
Proto-type size and excellent athleticism, the sky is the limit for this already productive Freshman. Hopefully for him, Chip Kelly sticks around another year or two.
3. Arik Armstead DE Oregon
Powerfully built at 6'7 280 lbs. Arik Armstead has been a solid contributer for the Ducks all year. Further physical development as well as a better udnerstanding of the college game will only improve his chances of becoming a force for the Ducks as early as next season.
Shoot out. Both of these offenses are too good and the defenses just aren't trust worthy. I personally don't believe that Kansas State has the fire power to keep up with Chip Kelly and his talented offense. Oregon wins, and wins big 44-23