No. 23 Liberty (13-0) and No. 8 Oregon (11-2) will meet on Monday, New Year’s Day in the 2024 Vrbo Fiesta Bowl. The game is scheduled for a 1:00 p.m. ET kickoff from State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

The Ducks lost to only one team all season, the Washington Huskies who are undefeated and competing for a national championship. Oregon lost to their Pac-12 rival by three points on two separate occasions, 36-33 in Washington on Oct. 14 and 34-31 on Dec. 1 in the Pac-12 championship game. If the Ducks picked up a win in one of those games, they are likely one of the top four teams and in the College Football Playoff.

Other than those two contests, Oregon has rolled all season. They averaged 44.1 points per game while holding teams to just 17.3 points each contest. Oregon only played one game other than the Washington contests that was decided by one score, a 38-30 win over Texas Tech in Week 2.

“Our team is excited about (the challenge),” said Liberty head coach Jamey Chadwell. “To put ourselves up against the best team in the country, they are one of the best teams in this country. If things went their way, they would be playing for a national championship. We get a chance to see where we’re at, where our program is at, and compare it against the best.”

Former Georgia Defensive Coordinator Dan Lanning is in his second season leading Oregon. He owns a 21-5 record in charge of the Ducks and has the program eyeing a national championship run as the team prepares to move to the Big Ten.

Lanning and the Ducks are led by quarterback Bo Nix. Nix, a Heisman Trophy finalist, threw for 4,145 yards, rushed for 228 yards, tossed 40 touchdowns and ran for six more. Nix, the former starter at Auburn before transferring to Oregon, threw for more than 400 yards in back-to-back games in November and tossed 10 combined touchdowns in wins over USC and Arizona State. Nix and the Ducks average 342.7 passing yards per contest.

Nix has two favorite targets in the passing game, with Tez Johnson and Troy Franklin both going over 1,000 yards on the season. Johnson, a transfer from Troy, had a breakout season for the Ducks. He was second on the team with 75 receptions for 1,010 yards, and 9 touchdowns. Yes, those numbers all ranked 2nd for one of the most prolific offenses in the country. Franklin leads the team with his 81 receptions, 1,383 yards, and 14 touchdowns.

At running back, Bucky Irving is one of the top backs in the country. He has totaled 172 carries for 1,063 yards and 10 touchdowns this season while averaging 6.2 yards per carry. Jordan James has been very efficient in his opportunities, as well. He has 98 rushing attempts for 696 yards (7.1 yards per carry) and 11 touchdowns. The Ducks are averaging 184.6 rushing yards per contest behind a very talented offensive line.

On defense, Oregon is very good against the run, holding teams to 97.5 rushing yards per game. The strength of their defense will get a good test from the No. 1 rushing offense in the country in the Flames. Brandon Dorlus is one of numerous talented players on the defensive unit for the Ducks. A first team all-Pac 12 performer, Dorlus has been a menace all season to opposing backfields. He enters the Fiesta Bowl with 25 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 8 pass breakups, 7 QB hurries, and a fumble recovery.

“The thing you know about Coach Lanning is they play great defense wherever he’s been,” Chadwell said. “He obviously funnels the Georgia model from that stand point. They are going to be stout, they are going to be tough. It is going to be a challenge for us because that will be the fastest, biggest, strongest group of D-Line and Linebackers that we’re going against.”


#8 Oregon 38, #23 Liberty 28

Line: Liberty +17

Picks results this year:
Straight-up: 13-0
ATS: 6-7