Forget the SEC
Before we start, let’s get something clear: the Oregon Ducks will not be going to the BCS National Championship this season. While they may be one of the top college football teams this season, they sit behind No. 1 Notre Dame (12-0), No. 2 Alabama (11-1), No. 3 Georgia (11-1), and No. 4 Florida (11-1) with no more games left to play and no chance of moving into one of the top two spots barring a sudden revelation by all of the BCS Poll voters.
Oregon had its chance to get back to a BCS National Championship and unfortunately saw their hopes slip away when the Stanford Cardinal came into Autzen Stadium and crushed every Duck fans’ dreams.
But, with an 11-1 record and one of the most potent offenses in the business, don’t the Ducks deserve to still be in the mix for a BCS National Championship?
Let’s talk about this some more.
The best case that can be made for placing the Ducks ahead of Alabama and Georgia is by comparing the losses of each team.
Alabama, once the undisputed number one team in the nation, lost to Texas A&M by a score of 29-24 in a game that saw them crawl their way back from a 21-0 deficit. A&M is now ranked 9th in the BCS.
Oregon, who cracked into the No. 2 position following Alabama’s loss, lost to Stanford in overtime by a score of 17-14, after suffering a controversial game-tying touchdown by the Cardinal. Stanford is now ranked 8th in the BCS.
Georgia, a team that now sees itself primed for a BCS National Championship should they vanquish the Alabama Crimson Tide, lost to South Carolina by a score of 35-7. South Carolina is now ranked 12th in the BCS.
What do these numbers tell us?
Well, for one thing, Oregon has the “best” loss out of all these three teams. Though Alabama could argue they played A&M closer than Georgia played South Carolina (Georgia was embarrassed in their loss), the Ducks barely lost their contest against the Cardinal.
Adding to the fact that Oregon had the best loss of the three teams, the Ducks lost their game on a controversial call that ended up leading Stanford to victory.
Though nothing can be done about the call now, Stanford TE Zach Ertz appeared to be out of bounds before he established control of the ball; the refs, however, eventually overturned the ruling and signaled it to be a touchdown.
Mike Pereira, once the head of NFL officiating, tweeted that the call should not have been reversed.
The late touchdown tied the game up at 14 and sent the game into overtime where Stanford would eventually win.
As mentioned previously, of all the one-loss teams Oregon had the closest game when they fell from national title contention. Had the Ducks played Stanford earlier in the season and lost to Stanford before Georgia and Alabama lost their games, the Ducks would soon be playing for a BCS National Championship; to decide where teams are ranked based on the timing of their losses is ludicrous.
Though the Ducks will not make an appearance in the BCS National Championship this season, they more than deserve to be at least considered for a shot at the title. The SEC, through easy games early on in addition to just two or three quality conference games every season, inflates itself, leading to higher rankings for SEC programs come the end of the season.
The SEC cannot be blamed for the national notoriety and bias they receive from most voters. A loss later in the season should not equate to an immediate drop in the polls; a loss must be analyzed and compared with other teams in order to determine exactly how far a team should fall.