Oregon Ducks: How Would They Fare Against the Other AP Top 5?

Lisa Horne@LisaHornePac-12 and Big 12 Lead WriterSeptember 24, 2012

September 22, 2012; Eugene, OR, USA; Oregon Ducks running back Kenjon Barner (24) runs the ball against the Arizona Wildcats at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Olmos-US PRESSWIRE

Oregon vs Alabama? 

How does that whet your appetite?

It's a mind-boggling match up because it pits a pro-style offense vs. a speedy defense. A spread-run offense against a stout defense. 

It's still way too early to predict the BCS Championship game's two contestants, but for argument's sake, let's run through the what-ifs and project how No. 2 Oregon would end up after facing No. 1 Alabama, No. 3 LSU, No. 4 Florida State and No. 5 Georgia. 

Alabama v Oregon.

No coach prepares his team better than Alabama head coach Nick Saban. The very thought of him having 30 days to scheme against the Ducks almost makes this exercise futile. But there are several key factors that may be overlooked. 

The Tide's secondary can be very forgiving. That's a nice way of saying its youth is still a work-in-progress. Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, if given time, should be able to find some speedy receivers open. The key is, given time. And looking at Alabama's defensive line, he may not get much.

Mariota is a dual-threat but then again so is Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson, and we all know how that worked out for Michigan in week one of the season. Mariota appears to be cool and collected, but he has made some errant throws. Under pressure in a big-time atmosphere, the redshirt freshman may make some decisions he regrets. Shoeless knows how that feels.

The only mitigating factor here is that both teams put games away in the second half. Alabama wears its opponents down with smash-mouth football while Oregon's speed makes defensive backs look silly.

As good as Oregon was last year, the Ducks still lost to USC. At Autzen Stadium. This year their offense hasn't missed a beat but losing offensive lineman Carson York and safety John Boyett will take a toll against the big boys.

Verdict:  Alabama 27 Oregon 25


LSU v Oregon

LSU has the third-best rushing defense in the nation, but who have they played? The best rushing offense that the Tigers have faced is North Texas, ranked at No. 43. Idaho's is ranked No. 122, Washington's is ranked No. 106 and Auburn's is ranked No. 75. 

The Ducks, on the other hand, have the seventh-best rushing offense in the country. True, they really haven't been challenged by a tough rushing defense, but it probably won't matter. They're fast, they spread it around and while LSU's defense has lot of speed, I tip my hat to the Ducks in this match-up.

Oregon head coach Chip Kelly has already lost once to LSU. He will have learned his lesson the second time around.

Verdict: Oregon 20 LSU 17


Florida State v Oregon

Right off the bat we have an advantage for Florida State; the Semioles will be playing in their own state. While the tickets are supposedly split evenly between the schools, don't kid yourself on whether or not the stadium would be evenly represented. It will be decidedly garnet.

Florida State has monster talent on its roster and will be undefeated after winning its division and the ACC title because that's the only way we're going to see the Seminoles in the BCS Championship. Its only tests were against Clemson, Virginia Tech (maybe) and Florida. 

Not very battle-tested and probably very over-confident. The Ducks will have beaten several ranked teams and USC (presumably) in the Pac-12 title game. They've lost a BCS Championship game. They know that feeling. 

The ACC is 2-13 in BCS games while the Pac-12 is 10-4. Chip Kelly v Jimbo Fisher. 


Verdict: Oregon 38 Florida State 31 


Georgia v Oregon

Georgia playing in the BCS Championship will have meant that the Bulldogs beat Alabama or LSU in the SEC Championship. Hmmm. I'm not buying this but let's run with that a minute. 

This is simple extraction but if Georgia beat Alabama then Georgia will beat Oregon. If Georgia beat LSU then Oregon will beat Georgia. Obviously.

I'm not sold on Georgia head coach Mark Richt winning the big game, and if you ask Georgia's fans to honestly evaluate his record in big games, they'll probably admit his shortcomings.

On the flip side, Oregon has increased its street cred. And depth.

Verdict No. 1: Oregon 42, Georgia 24  (if Georgia beat LSU in the SEC Championship)

Verdict No. 2: Georgia 24 Oregon 20 (if Georgia beat Alabama in the SEC Championship)