Oregon Football: Ducks' Road to the 2013 BCS

Brandon Oliver@@BOatBRContributor IOctober 21, 2013

The Oregon Ducks find themselves in a familiar position as they are ranked in the Top 10 in the initial BCS rankings of the season. For the fourth consecutive year, the Ducks found themselves among the top 10 teams of the season's first BCS Poll.

In 2010, the Ducks were No. 2 in the initial BCS Poll. In 2011, the Ducks came in at 10th in the first BCS rankings. Last season, the Ducks were No. 3 in the first BCS Poll. Powered by a No. 2 ranking in both human polls this season, the Ducks sit in the same No. 2 spot in the only poll that really matters for the rest of the season.


Where Oregon Stands

Where Oregon Stands
RecordAPCoachesStrength of ScheduleBCS Ranking


Biggest Obstacles to a BCS Berth

No one will argue Oregon's talent or dominating performance through seven games. Critics can point to the weak strength of schedule and make a case for Florida State to be ranked ahead of the Ducks.

The positive for the Ducks is the rest of their schedule. They will play host to No. 12 UCLA on Saturday before traveling to take on No. 8 Stanford the following Thursday. The nationally televised matchup against the only team to defeat the Ducks in their past 23 games is Oregon's best chance at proving itself to the nation in the regular season.

The season-ending "Civil War" against 6-1 Oregon State could provide a late boost if the No. 25 Beavers keep winning. The biggest boost, should they get there, will likely come from a Pac-12 Championship Game.

UCLA and Arizona State look as if they are on a collision course in the Pac-12 South. Both teams should be ranked at the end of the season, and the winner of their Nov. 23 matchup should be headed for the Pac-12 Championship Game. 

If the Ducks beat UCLA, the Bruins and the Sun Devils are both guaranteed to have a minimum of two losses. A two-loss Pac-12 team would likely find itself in the Top 10 of the final regular-season poll.

Help Needed 

Despite coming in behind Florida State in the initial BCS rankings, the Ducks aren't far behind. With their strength of schedule set for a drastic improvement in the coming weeks, the Ducks might not need to worry about anyone else losing.

Florida State sits at No. 1 in the computers in the initial rankings, but that could change in a hurry.

The Seminoles do play No. 7 Miami in two weeks, but the other five teams on their schedule have a combined record of 15-19. 

The Ducks were likely hurt in the computers by Washington losing for the third consecutive week on Saturday. The Huskies have a manageable schedule, which includes back-to-back road games at No. 12 UCLA and No. 25 Oregon State.

If Washington can win one of those and the other three games on its schedule, the Huskies would likely be ranked in the 15 to 20 range by season's end.

The biggest help for the Ducks could come from a team they beat by 45 points.

After getting blown out by the Ducks in Eugene, Tennessee has played its SEC foes tough. An overtime loss to Georgia and a win over No. 21 South Carolina have things looking up in Knoxville.

Tennessee's next three games could provide a big boost in Oregon's quest to overtake Florida State. The Volunteers face No. 1 Alabama and No. 5 Missouri on the road and No. 11 Auburn at home before hosting Vanderbilt and Kentucky to end the season.

If the Vols can pull off an upset or two, it could provide enough of a boost for the Ducks to gain some separation from the Seminoles.

Oregon Ducks' Remaining Schedule
vs No. 12 UCLA (5-1)Sat. Oct. 26
@ No. 6 Stanford (6-1)Thur. Nov. 7
vs Utah (4-3)Sat. 16
@ Arizona (4-2)Sat. 23
vs No. 25 Oregon State (6-1)Fri. Nov. 29


The Big Picture 

The Ducks currently sit at No. 68 in the Sagarin Ratings, but their strength of schedule should increase dramatically in the next few weeks. Through seven games, the Ducks have beaten three teams with winning records, three with losing records and one that sits at 4-4.

Their remaining opponents currently boast a 26-8 record, including three ranked teams with just one loss each.

If Arizona State can win the next five games to end on a seven-game win streak, it would be in its first Pac-12 Championship Game. The Sun Devils would almost certainly be in the BCS Top 10 and would provide a huge boost for the Ducks before the final votes are tallied.


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