I imagine those in power who were commissioned to name the bowl game played in the Arizona Valley had this year’s matchup in mind when they decided to call it the Fiesta Bowl.
One of the definitions of the word “Fiesta” is: an elaborate party or celebration, often outdoors.
Thursday night’s Fiesta bowl has all the makings to be just that - an elaborate outdoor party.
When No. 4 Oregon and No. 5 Kansas State meet in the 2013 Fiesta Bowl, there will be bands playing, crowds cheering, cheerleaders dancing and touchdown celebrations. Sounds like a party to me. Did I mention there would be touchdown celebrations? There will be. A lot of them. These teams score right at a point a minute. So when I say a lot, I literally mean…A LOT.
To have a lot of touchdown celebrations, you have to have a lot of points. And these two teams can score a lot of points. And they can do it quickly. Throw out the time of possession stat. These two teams would rather score as fast as possible rather than grind out the clock and wear down opposing defenses. The less time it takes them to score, the better. That means more possessions and more opportunities for touchdown celebrations.
The Ducks ranked second nationally with 50.8 points, just under a point a minute, and 323.25 yards rushing per game and fourth in total offense at 550 yards per game. That’s a lot of points and a lot of yards which means a lot of touchdown celebrations.
Kansas State doesn't score quite as many points per game. But they do score a bunch and they score in a hurry. The Wildcats ranked ninth nationally with 40.67 per game, just under a point a minute.
The architects behind these two successful programs have their teams in seemingly similar situations, but they are on seemingly different paths. Bill Snyder is 73 years old and in his second year of his second stint as head coach of the Kansas State Wildcats after a three year retirement. He has revitalized a program that he built; and he has thrust them back into national prominence.
Chip Kelly on the other hand, is in the prime of his career and has led Oregon to four straight BCS bowl games, including last year’s Rose Bowl victory, and an appearance against Auburn in the national championship game in 2011. Success breeds opportunity; and Chip Kelly is rumored to have NFL teams flying out to Arizona to meet with him and trying to convince him to take an NFL job and leave his position as the Ducks’ commander. (Shameless Duck Dynasty reference)
Regardless of how each coach got his team to the party or where they are headed for the after-party, the fact remains, this year’s Fiesta Bowl has all the makings of being the most explosive and highest scoring party, I mean game, of the bowl season. The wise guys in Vegas even have the over/under at 75.5. That’s a lot of points. But that’s what these teams do; they score a lot of points.
Both teams have a dynamic quarterback at the helm to lead their respective teams.
Collin Klein, Kansas State’s senior signal caller, rushed for 890 yards and threw for another 2,490 this season with 37 total TDs, 22 on the ground.
Oregon's Marcus Mariota had an exceptional 30-6 TD to INT ratio, becoming the Pac-12's first freshman quarterback to be named 1st team QB. Mariota seemed to get better as the year went on, being picked off only one time in the Ducks’ last six games.
So this game has all the makings for some fireworks. Add fireworks to the list of components of a great outdoor party or celebration. See…this party, I mean game, will have it all.
Here are some tips to help you better enjoy the celebration: Get ready. Be on time. Watch closely. And don’t blink. If you do, you are likely to miss a lot. A lot of points, a lot of touchdowns and a lot of celebrations.
This one ought to be fun. A lot of fun. Just like a fiesta is supposed to be.
Where To Watch Online: Oregon Ducks vs. Kansas State Wildcats