Fiesta Bowl Countdown: Canceled game will be played thanks to BCS

One of the coolest things about bowl games: They give teams a chance to step outside their comfort zone and play opponents they wouldn’t normally schedule.

Such is the case with the Fiesta Bowl. Kansas State and Oregon will meet for the first time at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Ducks are one of the four Pac-12 teams the Wildcats have never played.

That will help make the Fiesta Bowl an enticing game for both sides, especially when you consider how much fuss was made earlier this year about K-State and Oregon cancelling a home-and-home series.

Remember that? Back when it looked like Alabama was going to go undefeated and Oregon was competing with K-State for the second spot in the BCS championship game, the fact that the Wildcats and Ducks weren’t playing was big news. Why should fans have to debate which team is better when they could have simply played?

Oregon fans blamed K-State for cancelling the series, even though the Ducks asked to reschedule the game so they could play LSU. K-State fans said it was a mutual decision, even though Snyder wanted it off the schedule the second he returned as coach. Then both teams lost on the same day, and the topic became moot.

Still, both Oregon coach Chip Kelly and K-State coach Bill Snyder were asked about not going through with the series during the Fiesta Bowl’s first teleconference earlier this month.

Said Kelly: “We were just told we had to find another game. I wasn’t told why.”

Said Snyder: “It just didn’t fit our scheduling philosophy.”

Again, that’s the beauty of bowl games.

Ron Prince put Oregon, along with Auburn, Miami, Virginia Tech and UCLA on the schedule when Snyder was in retirement. Then Snyder came back and the games against Virginia Tech and Oregon never happened in the regular season.

But we will now get K-State vs. Oregon in a BCS bowl game.

“Perhaps it is ironic,” Snyder said.

One thing it most certainly is: A great game. Oregon has a fast-paced, high-powered offense and some of the best position players in all of college football. K-State has a slow-paced, efficient offense that just finished winning 11 games.

The Fiesta Bowl will showcase an interesting contrast of offensive styles and two teams that normally wouldn’t play each other. That’s something we don’t always get in the regular season. That’s the beauty of bowl season.

Up next on the countdown: A look at Oregon transfer Chris Harper, then and now

Editor’s Note: On Jan. 3, the Kansas State football team will face Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl. With that in mind, I am counting down to the big game at University of Phoenix Stadium by attempting to write 21 blog posts in 21 days. I use the word “attempting” because I can only think of so many blog ideas. I’m confident that I can go 21 for 21, but your help is appreciated. Feel free to send a blog idea (or two) my way at krobinett@wichitaeagle.com or via twitter @KellisRobinett.