Though Kansas State fans everywhere were angry about the Sugar Bowl’s decision to select Virginia Tech instead of the Wildcats last year, there was one noticeable perk that came with being slighted by the BCS.
K-State got to play Arkansas in a must-see Cotton Bowl matchup.
Both teams were ranked in the top 10 of the BCS standings heading into the game, and both teams won double-digit games in the regular season. Outside of the national championship game, it was one of the most intriguing games of the postseason.
The Fiesta Bowl (Stanford against Oklahoma State) was probably more attractive to a national audience, but not by much. And the Rose Bowl (Oregon vs. Wisconsin) had a tradition/pageantry advantage, but the Cotton Bowl topped everything else. It was hands down better than the Orange Bowl and Sugar Bowl.
This year, the Wildcats are in the BCS after winning the Big 12, but are once again headed to a must-see bowl game. Oregon vs. K-State in the Fiesta Bowl is arguably the season’s best bowl matchup after the national title game.
If not for one cruel Saturday in November that saw K-State lose to Baylor and Oregon fall to Stanford in the span of a few hours, they would likely be playing for a championship. Instead, the two one-loss teams will meet in the desert in a battle of top 5 teams.
I’m not going to sit down and rank all the bowl games from 1-35 like some national writers have, but here is my top 5:
1. BCS championship game: Notre Dame vs. Alabama (For all the marbles)
2. Fiesta Bowl: Oregon vs. K-State (Could be a playoff semifinal in future years)
3. Cotton Bowl: Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma (Former Big 12 rivals reunite)
4. Chic-fil-A Bowl: LSU vs. Clemson (Top 15 battle)
5. Holiday Bowl: Baylor vs. UCLA (Can you say shootout?)
I can see how some would rank the Cotton Bowl ahead of the Fiesta Bowl, with two former conference rivals meeting and Johnny Manziel coming off the Heisman. But the Fiesta Bowl should rank in the top 3 of just about everyone’s mind.
The Orange Bowl has potential for a giant-killing, but it also has potential for a slaughter. Unless Northern Illinois comes to play, that one could be a snoozer. The Rose Bowl features two teams that few regard as the best teams in their conferences and the Sugar Bowl looks like a mismatch.
But the Fiesta Bowl looks like a terrific battle of high-powered (yet different) offenses. Once again, K-State is playing in a must-see bowl game.
Next up on the countdown: A look at the man who makes Oregon’s fast-paced offense go, quarterback Marcus Mariota.
Last time on the countdown: Chip Kelly and Bill Snyder have both starred in better commercials than Bob Stoops.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or via twitter @KellisRobinett.