My how quickly things change.
Only a few short weeks ago, these two teams were supposed to play each other in the BCS National Championship.
On November 17, Kansas State, led by the formerly immutable Collin Klein, was enjoying its ascent to the nation’s No. 1 ranking heading into its road matchup with an under .500 Baylor squad. On the same evening, ESPN’s College GameDay had rolled out to Eugene for Oregon’s highly anticipated matchup against a formerly underrated Stanford crew.
When the night was over, Baylor was sitting at .500 following a 52-24 blowout win over the Wildcats, and Stanford was no longer underrated, but rather in first place in the Pac-12 following its 17-14 overtime victory at Oregon.
Klein and Co. had two weeks off to lick their wounds, ending the season with a big win over Texas, 42-24. Oregon, with redshirt freshman Marcus Mariota under center and dual Heisman Trophy candidates De’Anthony Thomas and Kenjon Barner leading the way, crushed Oregon State in the Civil War, 48-24.
Chris Harper, the Wildcats leading receiver with 50 passes caught for 786 yards and 3 touchdowns. Harper had originally played for Oregon back in 2008 before transferring to K-State to be closer to home.
Neither Kansas State nor Oregon played in a conference championship game, so they will be meeting in what is an excellent consolation prize. While not the BCS National Championship, the Fiesta Bowl is prestigious in its own right.
The game will be played Thursday, January 3rd, at 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time.