Down but not Out
In stunning fashion on Saturday night, the Oregon Ducks lost in overtime to the Stanford Cardinal after Oregon was virtually unable to move the ball on offense against a stout and resilient Stanford defense. While the Cardinal’s touchdown will go down as one of the most controversial in Oregon history, (it looked as though Zach Ertz was out of bounds when he established possession; something many head officials agree with) all is not lost for Oregon’s 2012 college football season.
Oregon needs a little help but they are still very much alive in the Pac-12 Championship picture as well as the BCS National Championship race. All the Ducks need to make the Pac-12 Championship is a win over Oregon State next week and a Stanford loss to UCLA, a team that many have said would not be ashamed of playing for a loss against the Cardinal.
For the Ducks to make the BCS race they will admittedly need a lot of help and somewhat of a college football miracle; but with the way the past two weeks have gone, nothing is out of the picture.
Let’s run through what needs to happen for the Ducks to make the BCS National Championship game.
Oregon Wins Out
The part of the BCS formula that the Ducks do control is their game against the Oregon State Beavers. Needless to say the Ducks need this victory to have an outside shot at making the BCS National Championship game. If they lose to Oregon State in Corvallis, Oregon will likely not even receive an at-large bid to a BCS bowl game.
Notre Dame Loses to USC
This is something that is very possible, even with the absence of Matt Barkley.
While the Fighting Irish have been very impressive on the defensive side of the ball, their secondary will have issues containing the prolific attack of Robert Woods and Marqise Lee. A loss would derail Notre Dame’s season (although Lou Holtz would still believe the Irish deserve to be in the national championship) while moving the Ducks that much closer to crawling back in to the BCS National Championship picture.
Two out of the “SEC Three Fall”
This may be some simple math and reasoning skills for the most of us.
For the Ducks to jump right back into the BCS National Championship picture, they will need two of the three SEC teams currently ahead of them to lose a game in the coming weeks; something that could be more possible than people are anticipating.
Alabama plays Auburn and will see Georgia in the SEC Championship Game. Georgia plays Georgia Tech and will see Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. Florida plays Florida State and will be hoping for BCS chaos in order to ascend the rankings.
Out of those three games we are obviously going to have at least one other team fall behind the Ducks as the Bulldogs and Crimson Tide square off against one another in the SEC Championship. Florida could very well lose to a Florida State team that will be trying to make their own case for a BCS National Championship bid, and Georgia Tech could come in and shock the nation; stranger things have happened.
Florida State Stays Put
While a win by the Seminoles over the Gators would be huge for the Ducks’ chances at appearing in the BCS National Championship game, a resounding victory may give Florida State an opportunity to jump over the Ducks in the BCS race should all hell break loose; this is obviously something that Oregon does not want to happen.
The Seminoles will either have to play a sloppy game against Florida that exposes both teams as overrated or lose in the ACC Championship game, something that is also very possible. Should the Seminoles win out, however, they may have the necessary power to move past the Ducks and secure a berth in the BCS National Championship should everything else fall into place.
Oregon’s loss to Stanford was demoralizing but not the end of the world. After falling to just No.5 in the BCS Rankings, the Ducks still have an outside shot at making the BCS National Championship game and will still likely be invited to a BCS At-large game should they not make the Title Game.