Oh, the crazy world of college football.
Last week the Oregon Ducks football team was holding hopes of a National Championship Game appearance in their hands, and now they are looking at it through a window that is barely cracked open.
With one regular-season game left, Oregon still has many directions it can go but only controls one small part of it.
Get ready to follow a whole lot of “what if” scenarios.
First, they must take care of their own business. That means beating rival Oregon State. A loss to the Beavers would likely see Oregon fall in its bowl bid quite drastically. If Oregon loses, all chance of a Pac-12 title, and a Rose Bowl berth for that matter, is gone along with them.
Oregon would still likely be eligible for a BCS at-large bid, but I doubt anyone would take a team coming off back-to-back losses.
A loss to Oregon State would likely send Oregon dropping all the way down to the Sun Bowl to play a mid-level team out of the ACC
OK, now that the worst case is out of the way, what else have we got?
Everything starts with Oregon beating Oregon State.
An Oregon win keeps the window open for a Pac-12 North title. Oregon fans will have to cheer for UCLA to top Stanford.
If Stanford and Oregon both win, Oregon is looking at an 11-1 record and likely a Top Four BCS finish due to the SEC championship game dropping the loser behind Oregon.
An 11-1 Oregon team in the Top Four would be hard to pass up. If somehow Oregon gets to No. 3, it is guaranteed a BCS bid.
A Stanford loss puts Oregon back at the top of the North where the Ducks would host the Pac-12 championship game for a second year against UCLA. It is pretty simple here: win the Pac-12, go to the Rose Bowl.
Lose, and hope for an at-large BCS bid...or get ready to head to the Alamo Bowl.
So how about that cracked window to the national championship game I mentioned? Again, it starts with beating Oregon State.
It would help to play and win the Pac-12 championship, but it isn’t 100 percent necessary.
Oregon also needs some of the following to happen; all would pretty much clinch it, but just some of this stuff will work:
Oregon needs USC to upset Notre Dame. This was a tough task to begin with, but now USC quarterback Matt Barkley is out and redshirt freshman Max Wittek is likely in.
Oregon needs Florida State to beat Florida. I find this one the most likely.
Oregon needs Auburn to upset Alabama. I doubt this happens.
Oregon needs Georgia Tech to upset Georgia. I doubt this happens too.
Alabama and Georgia will help clear a bit when they play each other for the SEC title.
There is a small chance for Oregon to play for the national championship, but it is there and crazier things have happened.