Oregon Football: Ducks Know If They Do Their Part They Won't Be the Odd Man out
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After the release of the first BCS poll of the season on Sunday night, the Oregon Ducks are on the outside looking in at a spot in the BCS Championship Game.
The Ducks came in at No. 3 in the initial standings despite another resounding win Saturday night. The biggest reason they fell to the dreaded third spot isn't anything they did wrong as much as it was what No. 2 Florida State did right.
The Seminoles dismantled No. 9 Clemson in front of a national television audience on the road Saturday night. With momentum on their side after the huge win, the Seminoles came out as the No. 1 team in the computer rankings despite being ranked third in both human polls.
Oregon remains a strong No. 2 in the human polls, but due to a weak schedule, the Ducks are just fourth in the computer rankings.
Despite the low computer ranking, there is no need to worry in Eugene. Everything that is working against the Ducks right now is only going to improve if they continue to run over their opponents.
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Florida State is 5-0 against FBS opponents that have a combined record of 21-12, including one win over an FCS opponent. With North Carolina State (3-3) up next, its slight lead over the Ducks might not last through the weekend. The Ducks will host No. 12 UCLA on Saturday, and a win would likely push them past the Seminoles in next Sunday's BCS poll.
The Seminoles can make another statement against No. 7 Miami (Fla.) when it travels to Tallahassee in two weeks, but it likely won't matter as the Ducks hit the road to face Stanford, the No. 6 team in the country. If both the Seminoles and the Ducks win those games, the Ducks would improve their standing by virtue of their big win on the road.
To keep pace with the Ducks, Florida State likely needs to dominate Miami and then hope the Hurricanes win the rest of their games. The Seminoles' schedule weakens considerably after Miami, with Wake Forest, Syracuse and Idaho up next. Florida awaits to end the regular season, but the Gators are struggling and sit at 4-3.
Florida State can't get any higher in the computer rankings, while Oregon is set to improve its standing over the next six weeks.
The Washington Huskies didn't do the Ducks any favors Saturday by getting blown out at Arizona State. After losing to Stanford and Oregon in consecutive weeks, the Huskies fell apart Saturday, making the Ducks' best win of the season look less impressive.
The Vols now face consecutive games against Alabama, Missouri and Auburn, three teams ranked in the top 11 of the BCS. A win in any of those games would further validate the Ducks, considering they beat the Vols 59-14.
The best news of all for Oregon is the next five games feature opponents with a combined record of 26-8. Wins in the next two games against Top 15 opponents would likely put the Ducks in the driver's seat to stay.
The Ducks could also benefit from what might be a tougher conference championship game in the Pac-12 than the Seminoles would face in the ACC. It is a battle between No. 7 Miami and No. 14 Virginia Tech for the ACC Coastal Division championship.
It could provide the Seminoles with a rematch against Miami or their first crack at a Virginia Tech team that was easily dispatched by Alabama to start the season.
The overall strength of the Pac-12 gives the Ducks a built-in advantage over the Seminoles. A Pac-12 championship game win over a 10-2 Arizona State or a 10-2 UCLA would be enough to keep them right where they want to be in the final BCS poll.
The Ducks have won their first seven games without breaking a sweat. If they win the next six, four of which will likely be against ranked opponents, they will be headed for the final BCS National Championship Game at the Rose Bowl.
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