Why Oregon Has Inside Track to BCS Championship

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Why Oregon Has Inside Track to BCS Championship
Robert Laberge/Getty Images

The BCS computers still aren't thrilled with Oregon—No. 5, really?—but the Harris and USA Today polls are. Both of those polls have Oregon ranked No. 2. 

The Ducks' schedule has been something like an episode from the Cupcake Wars. Saturday's game against USC was the Ducks' first against a currently ranked opponent.

Strength of schedule is an integral part of the BCS computers' algorithms, and Oregon's strength of schedule has been unimpressive. But all is not lost for the Ducks. In fact, things may be looking real good for Oregon in the next three weeks. 

This Saturday, the Ducks travel to Cal. Okay, wait, let's skip that game and go on to their final two contests: Stanford and Oregon State. 

Stanford is a lot better than its 7-2 record. And many even think that the Cardinal's record should be 8-1 after their game with Notre Dame ended in controversy. Still, Stanford beat USC, Arizona and almost beat Notre Dame.

Stanford (7-2) has found its quarterback answer to Andrew Luck in Kevin Hogan. The redshirt freshman went 18-of-23 for 184 yards and rushed for 48 more. And with Hogan and Josh Nunes presumably sharing duties for the rest of the season, Stanford will likely stay in the Top 25. That helps Oregon's strength of schedule.

Oregon State (7-1) faces Stanford this Saturday, and Ducks fans will probably be rooting for Stanford to win for this reason: A third Cardinal loss won't take Stanford out of the Top 25, but its ensuing (presumed) fourth loss to the Ducks will. Both Oregon State and Stanford will have two losses if Stanford wins this Saturday, and thus, they both should stay ranked.

Having USC win out would also help the Ducks, but we can't count on that right now. 

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan

The Ducks face Oregon State in the annual Civil War rivalry game on November 24. At that point, the Beavers will have had between one and three losses.

In their final regular season game, where they really need to impress the pollsters, the Ducks can't ask for more than a ranked opponent to boost their points in the BCS.

Remember, No. 1 Alabama's final two games of the regular season are against Western Carolina and Auburn. Oregon will score more points playing two ranked teams while Alabama is playing a cupcake and a winless-in-the-SEC team. 

Oregon has the inside track to the BCS championship.

For now, Duck fans need not worry about pandering to pollsters for BCS votes.  

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