2012 Fiesta Bowl Preview

By Paul Grossinger

Oklahoma State Cowboys (11-1) vs. Stanford (11-1)

Every year, the BCS System chooses a martyr; a school that gets skewered by the complicated rankings and ends up playing in the wrong game. This year's martyr is Oklahoma State: a team with one double-overtime loss on the road that will never get its shot at the BCS title. The Cowboys lost to Iowa State, which is inexcusable. But for the BCS to deny them a shot at LSU in favor of Alabama-a team LSU beat a month ago-is equally inexcusable. As for Stanford, a tough mid-season loss to Oregon kept them out of both the BCS Title game and the Rose Bowl, so they ended up here. Not a bad consolation prize, all things considered.

Oklahoma State is an exciting but unbalanced team, all offense and no defense. The Cowboys have college football's best combined offense, which helped produce a 40+ points per game average in the Big 12 conference. However, Oklahoma State fields the worst defense of any top team; to call it a "middling" group is generous.

Stanford is a much more balanced team. The Cardinals' ceiling is lower than the Cowboys' but-on any given day-they are likely to produce a more balanced performance. Led by quarterback Andrew Luck, Stanford's offense is potent and their defense can usually return them the ball quickly. However, Stanford's main weakness is its defenses' inability to contain high octane offenses that keep them on the field too long: both USC and Oregon ran them ragged. Their performance in those two games suggests that, if the Cowboys come out running on all cylinders, this game could get out of hand quickly.

Oklahoma State Cowboys
Cowboys defender James Thomas runs with the football after he intercepted a tipped Kansas State pass. The number 3 BCS ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys of the Big 12 conference defeated the number 14 BCS ranked Kansas State Wildcats also of the Big 12 conference 52 to 45 in an exciting game at Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, Oklahoma

Prediction: Oklahoma State Wins

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