For Bo Nix and the Oregon Ducks fanbase, it was likely that Oregon would end up as one of the four teams chosen in the College Football Playoffs. Unfortunately, the Washington Huskies became the kryptonite for the Oregon Ducks this season. The College Football Playoff Selection Committee chose the Huskies, while the Oregon Ducks have no choice but to settle for a Fiesta Bowl bid with the undefeated #18 Liberty Flames.
This game is the culmination of a magical season for the reigning Conference USA Champions. A win against the Oregon Ducks would be the proverbial icing on the cake. However, I find it highly unlikely that this will be the case against a team as battle-tested as Oregon.
BetMGM has Oregon as a 16.5-point favorite against the Liberty Flames. Action Network has Oregon as a 15.5-point favorite. The general discourse is that Oregon should roll to a solid victory over the Liberty Flames.
Oregon QB Bo Nix has made the surprising decision to play in the Fiesta Bowl against the Flames. For quite a few reasons, I don’t believe it is worth it for Bo Nix to play in this football game. In this piece, I will explain why I feel this way.
Bo Nix is at or near the top of the list in a draft class full of quarterbacks for salivating NFL teams to choose from. According to a recent mock draft by Pro Football Focus, Nix is projected to be selected in the 1st round as the 21st overall pick. CBS Sports projects that Bo Nix will be a second-round pick.
Nix’s performances in the pre-draft combine will play a role in his eventual draft position. However, there is no question that a serious injury will affect his draft status tremendously.
Bo Nix is opening the door to that possibility by playing in this game. This wouldn’t be an issue if this game were a College Football Playoff Semifinal game.
Bo Nix’s reasons for playing are admirable. As he said at a Heisman Trophy press conference, he did not want to end his college football career with a Pac-12 championship loss. He wanted to play with his teammates one more time and end his college career positively.
Playing in the Fiesta Bowl is playing for the right to win a consolation prize. The juice isn’t worth the squeeze.
Bo Nix is better off sitting out and preparing to play on the next level.
If one is looking for a cautionary tale as to why Nix should sit out, one should look no further than Jaylon Smith. Jaylon Smith played for Notre Dame in a Fiesta Bowl matchup against Ohio State. He ended up tearing both ligaments during that game.
Before the 2016 Fiesta Bowl, Jaylon Smith was projected to be a top-5 pick that year. Instead, he ended up becoming an early 2nd round pick. The decision lowered his draft status significantly.
Additionally, Bo Nix may be in the minority regarding top draft prospects who opt out of bowl games.
USC QB Caleb Williams decided to opt out of USC’s Holiday Bowl against the Louisville Cardinals. One cannot blame Caleb Williams for this decision, as he is slated to be the #1 pick in next year’s draft. It would be unwise of him to risk injury by playing in a game with no real implications.
Another player who has correctly decided to prepare for the next level is North Carolina QB Drake Maye. Drake Maye is one of the top QBs in the program’s history.
Drake Maye has decided to opt out of North Carolina’s Duke’s Mayo Bowl against West Virginia on December 27th.
According to CBS Sports draft projections, Drake Maye may be potentially the second-best quarterback behind Caleb Williams in this draft.
Additionally, Notre Dame QB Sam Hartman has decided to ditch the Sun Bowl against Oregon State to prepare for the NFL Draft.
Florida State WR Johnny Wilson decided to skip his Orange Bowl match against Georgia to prepare for the draft. Penn State edge rusher Chop Robinson chose to skip the Peach Bowl against Ole Miss to do the same thing.
Bo Nix has had a fantastic run in Oregon. He has nothing left to prove. Regarding Nix playing in the Fiesta Bowl, the risk significantly outweighs the reward.
Nix should nix the Fiesta Bowl and prepare for life at the next level.