BCS Rankings Week 9: Breaking Down Why Oregon Slipped to No. 4

Dave Radcliffe@DaveRadcliffe_Contributor IIIOctober 21, 2012

TEMPE, AZ - OCTOBER 18:  linebacker Boseko Lokombo #25 (R) of the Oregon Ducks watches from the sidelines during the college football game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium on October 18, 2012 in Tempe, Arizona. The Ducks defeated the Sun Devils 43-21.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Week 9 BCS rankings are hot off the press, and it only took one week for a change to take place near the top of the standings.

Despite a complete shellacking of a 5-1 Arizona State team, Oregon slipped to No. 4 in the BCS rankings as Kansas State leapfrogged the Ducks. 

The Wildcats' victory came over previously No. 13-ranked West Virginia, who slipped to 19th in the standings. They marched into Morgantown and trounced the Mountaineers by a score of 55-14.

The victory was enough to vault Kansas State into the No. 3 spot as the top two spots remained unchanged, with Alabama maintaining its lead over fellow SEC foe Florida.

Oregon remains No. 2 in both the AP Poll and USA Today Coaches' Poll, but it's technology that has played against the Ducks. They came in at sixth in the computer average with only one computer ranking Oregon higher than the No. 6 position.

As far as the Harris Poll goes, Oregon is also No. 2, but that only accounts for one-third of the BCS formula. The average computer ranking of No. 6 also makes up one-third of the formula, and it was just too much for the Ducks to overcome in the Week 9 rankings.

While Oregon hasn't had to sweat out any games this season, it's largely due in part to its strength of schedule. That, coupled with the fact that Kansas State's victory was so impressive, leaves the Ducks outside of the top three in the BCS rankings.

According to the Congrove Computer Rankings, Oregon's SOS ranks 62nd in the FBS while Kansas State has played the 12th most difficult schedule to date in college football.

The Ducks defeated two ranked opponents earlier in the season (Arizona and Washington), but both teams have since dropped out of the Top 25 and have combined to go 2-6 in Pac-12 play, which doesn't bode well for Oregon.

Meanwhile, Kansas State has also played two Top 25 teams this season, but both were against teams in the top 13, and the Wildcats played both games on the road.

The Pac-12 and Big 12 are both having strong seasons as a whole, but according to Team Rankings, the Big 12 is the strongest conference in the country, with the Pac-12 placing third, and Kansas State has simply played better competition thus far.

Oregon may look better while doing it, but unfortunately for the Ducks, computers don’t take style of play into account.

Oregon's remaining schedule pins them against three more ranked teams, including games at both USC and Oregon State. Should the Ducks manage to escape each of those games with a win, they could see their fortunes turn in regards to the BCS rankings.

While this means it's a difficult road ahead for Oregon, it also gives the Ducks an opportunity to get back into the BCS National Championship Game discussion. The top four teams in the rankings are all within .7 points, so a big win over USC or Oregon State could be enough for Oregon to “pull a Kansas State” in the coming weeks.

For now, Oregon will have to settle for fourth, but there is plenty of football yet to be played.

If the Ducks run the slate to close out the season, there is a strong possibility that they will be moving on up into the BCS National Championship Game.