Chip Kelly and the Oregon Ducks totally obliterated the Colorado Buffaloes on Saturday. The score was 70-14, and Oregon improved to 8-0 on the year.
As we know, the Ducks have been ever so slightly falling in the BCS rankings, so perhaps that acted as a motive to go out and slam Colorado in late October. The Ducks were third in 2012's initial BCS standings and then dropped to fourth last week.
With other teams such as the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Oklahoma Sooners and LSU Tigers on its heels, Oregon has no choice but to go out and run over every opponent. After all, we've seen perfect teams miss out on the BCS national championship party before—most notably Auburn in 2004 and Utah in 2008, both of whom finished No. 2 in the final AP poll.
Here, we check out why the Ducks had to dominate the Buffaloes as a way of sending a message to voters.
Schedule Thus Far
Through Oregon's first eight games it has not played a formidable opponent. Yes, Arizona and Washington were ranked when facing the Ducks. However, neither entered this week ranked, and both are unlikely to hit 10 wins.
Fresno State has given Oregon the toughest challenge thus far, losing 42-25 to Oregon in Eugene. Arizona State is the most noteworthy of other Pac-12 opponents though October, but the Sun Devils have a tough road to double-digit wins as well.
Factor in the Buffaloes, whom Oregon was beating 56-0 by the half, and the Ducks couldn't afford to lose courtesy of a weak schedule.
On the bright side, Oregon has totally crushed each week, winning by an average score of 53-19.
How much will Oregon's early season schedule hurt for a BCS national title bid? (1=Least, 5=Most)
In light of that awesome dominance, though, strength of schedule certainly plays a key role in the BCS. To that end, the Ducks have been at a disadvantage in comparison to those around them atop the rankings.
Top Teams' Key Wins
The two teams Ducks have to worry about are Kansas State and Florida—even with the Gators' loss to Georgia this week. Kansas State has two enormous road wins over Oklahoma and West Virginia, whereas Florida has logged wins over LSU, Texas A&M and South Carolina.
Looking at those victories and Oregon's, it's not surprising to see the Ducks slip in the BCS. Plus, the Wildcats' two big wins came on the road, and the Gators took out the Aggies at College Station. Oregon has only played outside of Eugene twice, and those games were against Washington State and Arizona State.
Just from the strength-of-schedule perspective, the Ducks have been at a distinct disadvantage. Nevertheless, continuing to win is all Oregon can do, which unsurprisingly ties into the Ducks' remaining schedule.
Keeping the Confidence
The good news is that Oregon has its first big test against USC on the road next week. Its remaining schedule is no cakewalk, as playing at California will be no easy task, followed by closing out the regular season at home against Stanford and then at in-state rival Oregon State.
Those four games can definitely propel the Ducks up the rankings, and it's why crushing every game beforehand was so vital. Oregon knew it was one of the nation's top teams, but winning in dramatic fashion against significantly inferior opponents does not necessarily bode well for confidence.
Therefore, totally working each week in all three phases was imperative to maintain preparation for November. Now, it's just a matter of running the table and entering the Pac-12 title game with a perfect record.
That additional contest certainly assists the Ducks, so a 13-0 Oregon has an opportunity to leapfrog a 12-0 Kansas State. The beginning was about keeping confidence and winning. Now it's simply about winning and riding out perfect.
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