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ESPN's Rece Davis on The Fiesta Bowl, Pac-12 Basketball, and the Capital One Cup

The host of ESPN's College Football Final and college basketball edition of College Gameday took time on behalf of the Capital One Cup to discuss the Oregon-Kansas State match up and his perspective on the coaching future of Chip Kelly.

Rece Davis will be here in early January. Will you?
Rece Davis will be here in early January. Will you?
Christian Petersen

Below are excerpts from the full interview with Rece Davis. For the entire interview, including more on Chip and the NFL and his take on the Heisman race, make sure to listen to the audio embedded below (it's downloadable, if you'd like to save it for later).

On the keys to the game for the upcoming Tostitos Fiesta Bowl:


Rece Davis: "Well, I think that any time a team plays Oregon that hasn't played them before – and I know that they were supposed to play so now we get to see it in a bowl game – I think it's how well a defense adjusts to the tempo. The one thing I will say, Kansas State from its standpoint having played in the Big 12, they have seen teams that play at a very quick pace, that play a wide-open, hurry up brand of football."

"Oregon, obviously, is a different level. When they're right, they play at a speed that nobody else plays at. The way to disrupt that is to knock them off course, meaning that instead of letting them have second and one, or letting them pick up a first down on one play, make it second and long – get them behind the chains."

Kansas State:

RD: "From the other side of the ball, Oregon, I know it's defense - and Nick Allioti is one of my favorite guys to talk to in all of football and I think he's a terrific Defensive Coordinator – they've been really, really hurt by injuries this year.

"Dealing with Klein, Colin Klein is a load in his own right. He's a winner, he's tough, he's probably the most patient runner I've ever seen from the quarterback position. He will let blocks develop, you'll sit there and watch him sometimes and go 'what are you waiting on' and then all of a sudden he pops through and he's got 12 yards."

"His throwing motion is not going to make you forget Joe Montana, or Tom Brady, or whoever you like as a quintessential throwing motion, but he's become very accurate and he's made a lot of big plays in the passing game and he has some explosive wide receivers."

On the Chip to the NFL speculation:

RD: "I don't know, that's for him to decide, I would be purely speculating. I always think that this is a business and coaches that make more than ever before feel like they have a shelf life and windows of opportunity that they have to go through, but by the same token I think there are times if you have a really good situation – which I believe Oregon is – then I don't think you should give that up lightly, or too quickly or easily."

On what Pac-12 basketball needs to do to regain prime form:

RD: "Pac-12 in basketball, they need UCLA to be good. They need Arizona to be good, and Arizona so far has been good. Oregon's certainly been good out of the gate. I think they need programs to compete at a national level to raise the level of everyone pursuing them and pursuing prominence nationally. That's the biggest thing to me."

"…When Oregon has a big time player, they need to make sure they stay in state. California kids, UCLA needs to keep them around – UCLA's always going to recruit nationally obviously. I think keep your players at home – it certainly has been an issue for Washington at times too - keep your players at home, have some stability in coaching, have your power programs be relevant nationally, and it tends to lift the level of the entire conference."

On the importance of the Capital One Cup:

RD: "When you talk to some of the kids after it's over, one thing they say is they're a little bit more cognisant of the finishes of some other team sports on campus that maybe they ordinarily wouldn't have paid as much attention to, simply because it gives them a opportunity to win something."

"You know how athletes are - athletes are competitive, no matter what. If there's a trophy, any athlete worth his salt wants it. The best example I can think of is Mike Krzyzewski used to say, 'you know, people would say well maybe the ACC regular season championship isn't as important as the tournament,' and Coach K used to say, 'Hey look, if they're giving out a trophy, we want it.'"