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Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Pacific Life Holiday Bowl: Oregon (9-3) vs. Oklahoma State (9-3)


Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

The Pacific Life Holiday Bowl gets the Pac-10 bowl season rolling again with a doozie. This might be the most entertaining game of the bowl season.

Who to watch: Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli

There's been lots of talk about both offenses, but Oklahoma State's Zac Robinson clearly enters as the matchup's marquee quarterback. If the game is going to be the scoring extravaganza that most expect, though, Masoli is going to have to make plays with both his legs and his arm. Much of the year, running was his thing -- see 612 yards rushing -- but late in the season, his passing picked up. If the Ducks are going to keep up, they need Masoli to create a passing threat.

What to watch: Dez Bryant vs. the D-Boyz

All-American receiver Dez Bryant is a force. The Oregon secondary was supposed to be one, too, this year, but results have been mixed. The Ducks gave up 24 touchdown passes, only grabbed 14 interceptions and allowed foes to complete 58 percent of their passes. This is a shot at redemption. And it's going to be hard to win if Bryant stretches the Ducks' defense and opens up running lanes.

Why to watch: If you like offense, this is the place to be. Both offenses rank in the nation's top eight in points and yards per game. In fact, if both hit their season averages -- which is possible because both defenses are mediocre -- then we'll see 84 points and 975 yards of production. Beyond that, it's two ranked teams trying to boost their respective conference's reputation. The Pac-10 is trying to redeem itself, its national perception hurt by posting a poor record against a tough nonconference schedule. The Big 12 has been touted as perhaps the nation's best conference all season, but it didn't play anyone out of conference. While it's dangerous to compare scores, keep in mind the Cowboys opened the season with a somewhat competitive game against Washington State, winning 39-13 and gaining 367 yards. A few weeks later, Oregon crushed the Cougars 63-14 and outgained them 507 yards to 271.