Oregon Ducks Football: Why Big Spread Won't Favor Chip Kelly's Team in BCS Bowl

Ethan GrantAnalyst IDecember 16, 2012

TEMPE, AZ - OCTOBER 18:  Head coach Chip Kelly of the Oregon Ducks reacts from the sidelines during the college football game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium on October 18, 2012 in Tempe, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Oregon Ducks are expected to arrive at the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl and handily take out the Kansas State Wildcats.

Who wouldn't come to that conclusion after a season in which Oregon thoroughly controlled opposing defenses en route to becoming one of the nation's most feared offenses. Currently the Ducks are an 8.5-point favorite (according to Vegas Insider) over Bill Snyder's Kansas State squad.

If that number holds, it's a big mistake for those looking to make a quick penny off of what looks like an obvious Oregon win.

Taking a closer look at this Oregon team under Chip Kelly, the unpredictability of the bowl system has granted the Ducks no mercy in their first three bowls under the offensive guru. The team is 1-2, with a Rose Bowl and National Championship Game loss before last year's Rose Bowl win.

Those were tight games, and the spread didn't help matters much in any of those games. Although the Ducks weren't favored to win by any stretch against Auburn, they were favored against both Wisconsin and Ohio State. That didn't work out well, as evidenced by a loss and just a seven-point win.

Additionally, this Wildcat team is no joke.

Led by senior QB and third-place Heisman finisher Collin Klein, the Wildcats employ a run-based offense that still puts up 40 points per game—good for ninth in the nation. RB John Hubert is also a complementary piece, as is ex-Duck Chase Harper, the team's leading receiver.

On defense, Arthur Brown and Ty Zimmerman lead a defense that is still in shock after giving up 52 points to an underrated Baylor offense on November 17. That date coincided with Oregon's loss to the Stanford Cardinal, and both games knocked both teams out of the national championship picture.

There are many similarities between the two, including record, gritty play on defense and offenses that, despite differing styles, still put up points.

The biggest argument for Oregon is the lack of speed on the Kansas State defense.

That may be a true argument, since Oregon recruits the fastest kids in the nation. Still, with a month to prepare for the offense and a blueprint already handed out in the form of the Stanford win, the extra time has to favor the Wildcats.

Oregon is a favorite here. The number could likely rise over the course of the next few weeks, as many will continue to lay down the points with the nation's fastest offense looking to feast on the Big 12's best defense.

However, don't be fooled into thinking that Oregon will run away with this game. They should be the favorite, but think long and hard before diving into the savings account and betting your life on what's being billed as a blowout.


Ethan Grant is a featured columnist for B/R's Breaking News Team.