There's a cliche that says rankings and records don't matter in the postseason. That'll be tested today as Iowa State plays Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz.
On one hand there are the Iowa State Cyclones, who finished the season 8-3 and lost the Big 12 Championship to Oklahoma by just six points. Then there are the Oregon Ducks, who played just six games in 2020, going 4-2 on the season and who beat USC 31-22 in the Pac-12 Championship game. (A game against Washington was canceled, and the Pac-12 got started late because of the global pandemic.)
And going into today's Fiesta Bowl, Iowa State is ranked No. 10, while Oregon is No. 25.
So, yeah. Maybe rankings and records don't matter quite as much in for this year's bowl games.
How to watch Iowa State vs. Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl
The Fiesta Bowl can be found on ESPN at 4 p.m. Eastern on Jan. 2, 2021.
ESPN is, of course, available on every major streaming service. Your best bet to watch this game is going to be with Sling TV — and specifically the Sling Orange plan, for a couple reasons. First is that by itself, Sling Orange costs just $30 a month. (And you'll get your first month for just $20.) Second is that Sling TV has a free trial, so you can fire it up today and watch all the bowl games for free, just to kick the tires.
If Sling TV just isn't your bag, we recommend checking out FuboTV — particularly if you're a sports fan. It's got the usual sports channels you'd expect to find, including ESPN. But it also has a world of sports-centric add-ons that you just can't find anywhere else. It's more pricey at $64.99 a month (there is a free trial available), but you also get more channels out of the box than you do with a single Sling plan.
Another excellent option is Hulu With Live TV, which also happens to be the most popular option for streaming live TV in the United States. And there's also YouTube TV (the second-most popular service), which has ESPN and is another great option.
Note that the game is on ESPN, but not on ESPN+.
Iowa State vs. Oregon — how we got here
The Pac-12 was late in starting its 2020 season, due to the global pandemic. But when it did, the Ducks started out with three straight wins. The first two were a 35-14 wallop of Stanford and a 43-29 shellacking of Washington State. Then came UCLA, which Oregon managed to hold off 38-35, despite being unable to score in the fourth quarter.
Oregon's next three games didn't go quite as well. It gave up 22 points in the fourth quarter in a 41-38 loss to Oregon State for the first loss of the year. Then game a 21-17 loss to Cal — a slog that didn't see either team score in the closing frame. And the Dec. 12 contest against Washington was canceled due to major COVID-19 cases within the Washington program.
That got the Ducks to the Pac-12 Championship Game against USC, where Tyler Shough and Anthony Brown combined for two touchdowns each in a 31-24 win — the second conference title in as many years.
Iowa State, meanwhile, played nearly twice as many games as Oregon this season. It opened with a 31-14 loss to Louisiana but followed that up with three straight Big 12 wins, over TCU, No. 18 Oklahoma and, Texas Tech. Then the Cyclones ran into a 24-21 wall in Stillwater, with Oklahoma State holding fast in the fourth.
Five more wins followed that blemish, over Kansas, Baylor, Kansas State, Texas and West Virginia.
That set up a rematch for Oklahoma inn the Big 12 Championship game, where a Sooners 17-point second quarter proved to be too much for Iowa State to overcome, for a final score of 27-21.
Two very different paths, but one ultimate destination — today's Fiesta Bowl.
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