College Football: USC Loss Paves the Way for an SEC vs. Oregon Title Game

Barry Leonard@@barryleonardjrAnalyst IIISeptember 16, 2012

PALO ALTO, CA - SEPTEMBER 15: Players for the USC Trojans walk back into the lockerroom after warm ups before their game against the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium on September 15, 2012 in Palo Alto, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

When Stanford upset the No. 2 USC Trojans 21-14 in Week 3, perhaps the biggest winner was the Oregon Ducks. USC had a tight grip on the No. 2 spot and were widely expected to land a berth in the BCS National Championship Game.

Now that USC has a loss, the Ducks have to be the favorites to win the Pac-12 and probably move into the No. 2 spot. Thus, they would earn a spot in the national championship game against the SEC champ, likely LSU or Alabama.

Few would argue against the fact that Alabama is on the fast track to the championship game. The Crimson Tide have looked impressive, outscoring Michigan, Western Kentucky and Arkansas by a combined score of  128-14.

The Tide could be tested mid-way through the season with back-to-back trips to Missouri and Tennessee. Of course, the big matchup for Alabama comes on November 3 when it travels to Baton Rouge to face the rival LSU Tigers.

LSU has also looked impressive and could use the home-field advantage to knock off the Tide. There's no doubt that the winner of that game becomes a favorite for a national championship game berth.

While Alabama seems to have a lock on the No. 1 spot until at least midseason, the second spot could be revolving throughout the year.

The Oregon Ducks have scored 162 points in only three games. Though the competition wasn't the best—Arkansas State, Fresno State and Tennessee Tech—the numbers are still impressive. The Ducks are fourth in the nation in rushing yards, averaging 329 per game. Oregon is also fifth in the nation in points per game, with an average of 54.

Quarterback Marcus Mariota has thrown for 674 yards and eight touchdowns on the season. The heart of the Ducks' offense is the running game. Running backs De'Anthony Thomas and Kenjon Barner have combined for 552 yards and 10 touchdowns.

The Ducks will soon run into stiffer competition as they get into the Pac-12 schedule. Two key games will be the huge one on November 3rd at USC and the November 17 home tilt against Stanford.

Oregon puts up points in a hurry and should be able to hang with any team in the country. With USC knocked out of the unbeaten club, the Ducks know what needs to be done.

Win out, and they will likely meet an SEC foe to determine the BCS National Champion.

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