If the BCS Championship Game was played today, the Oregon Ducks would be on the outside looking in. Don’t expect that to last long.
As B/R BCS guru Samuel Chi first projected, Florida State edged Oregon by .028 in the initial rankings.
So what gives? The Ducks have been ranked second in both the Associated Press Top 25 and USA Today Coaches polls for weeks.
The computers didn’t malfunction. Though Oregon has blasted each of its first seven opponents, the Ducks’ signature wins are over Washington and Tennessee—both of which are just one game over .500.
Conversely, Florida State earned some clout with its dissection of a Clemson team ranked No. 9 in the first BCS rankings.
Fret not, Ducks faithful: The national title game isn't for another 11 weeks. The decisive rankings are released seven weeks from today. And by then, Oregon will pass Florida State so long as the Ducks take care of business.
Rare is the season when the initial No. 1 and No. 2 reach the championship game. As the National Football Foundation noted via Twitter, 2005 and 2011 are the only such instances.
Predictably, the unpredictability of the college football season brings some order to the BCS picture. The Seminoles or Ducks could certainly lose in the next seven weeks. Even if neither does, though, Oregon need not worry.
The most important asset Oregon has for its national championship aspirations is also its highest hurdle. The first half of the Ducks' schedule was decidedly weaker than the second.
Oregon’s path to Pasadena is more challenging, but also more direct.
So long as Oregon survives those tests, as well as dates with 4-2 Arizona and 4-3 Utah, it will be sitting pretty heading into the Pac-12 championship game. The seemingly complex BCS equation is actually quite simple for the Ducks: Win and you’re in.
The Pac-12’s nine-game conference schedule is central to Oregon bolstering its resume.
The Ducks play nothing but Pac-12 contests the rest of the way. Florida State still has two non-conference games of four remaining.
One is a potentially BCS bounty against in-state rival and SEC stalwart Florida. The Gators are excluded from the initial rankings, but could realistically enter into the Top 25 by the regular-season finale.
However, before the Seminoles clash with the Gators for the Florida Cup, they host Idaho.
Idaho, currently 1-6 and one of the worst teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision, is a millstone for Florida State’s BCS score.
The Vandals are one of two cupcakes on the Seminoles’ schedule, along with Football Championship Subdivision member Bethune-Cookman. Oregon didn’t need to fill out a fourth non-conference date.
Oregon's remaining schedule is certainly not easy, but it's precisely why the Ducks won't be looking up at the Seminoles much longer.
Kyle Kensing is the Pac-12 Lead Writer for B/R. All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.
Follow Kyle on Twitter: @kensing45.
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