Pictured is the last time Oregon was in a BCS bowl: the 2002 Fiesta Bowl. This year, the Ducks will be in their second: The 2010 BCS National Championship.
That's right, I said it. The Ducks are on a National Championship run. When the season started, everyone was saying it.
Now you're telling me one loss to Boise State and they're out of it? I don't think so. Sure Blount's gone, but LaMichael James is all we could ask for and more. Honestly, I hope Blount doesn't return.
We had a hiccup, and we recovered. That's a fact. Here's another:
Since 1995, out of the nine times Oregon started off 3-1, they have gone on to be 10-2 or better four times. Once, with that being the only loss (2001).
When you look at the top-four teams, the Quack Attack has a good shot at ending up there. The Pac-10 is no picnic, but compared to the SEC and the Big 12, we do have a relatively easy schedule.
The top-four teams right now have a much harder going than the Ducks do, and there's more realistic opportunities for them to lose than for Oregon.
Will Thurmond's injury give Oregon a setback? Heck yeah. But they beat Cal without him. And Washington State. The Golden Bears were sixth in the nation, a definite high-caliber team.
If the Ducks beat Cal, that means Oregon could contest with say Texas, Virginia Tech, and I think we could take down the Broncos if they were to play them tomorrow.
The Ducks curb stomping Cal is just testament to the fact of how good the Ducks really are.
Will the Ducks beat USC? Washington did it. Jake Locker is a one man band and he took down USC nearly single-handedly.
Can Oregon do that? If they did, that would be three ranked teams so far—Utah, Cal, and then USC. Oregon can beat USC. You better believe it. But we'll look at that later.
When the Ducks beat USC, they will be among the top teams in the nation.
Let's look at the top-four teams right now, and see how Oregon can end up there.
They have three prime opportunities to lose this season: @LSU, Georgia, and @South Carolina.
LSU played a hardcore team in Georgia last week. The Tigers barely pulled it out. If LSU then beat Florida...how sweet that would be!
If Florida loses this weekend, that could put them out of the National Championship running. Especially if they lost to either Georgia or USC as well.
Georgia played hard and barely lost to the Tigers. They really gave LSU a fight, and may just surprise some people against the Gators.
Georgia has a brilliant defense shown in the LSU game. They might just shut Tebow down.
But South Carolina? Blasphemy you say? It's for real, and so are the Gamecocks.
Florida no doubt looks at LSU and Georgia as the bigger games. That's a chance for the Cocks to step in and take action (no pun intended).
Eric Norwood, a defensive lineman on the Gamecocks is in 8th place for sacks in SEC history. That's amazing comparing that against the traditionally good programs of the SEC.
He tears it up, and the defensive line has performed great so far this year. If they could beat Florida...that's better than Washington taking down USC in my opinion.
Stephen Garcia is also a big time playmaker. He has thrown some remarkable passes, especially in this last game against SC St. Yeah yeah, they're terrible, but still. That was good passing.
He could challenge Florida's defense believe it or not. Just like they did against Ole Miss. He has the weapons to do it. Moe Brown is just one of those weapons.
If Florida loses one of those games to either LSU, Georgia, or South Carolina, it could put them out of it. Oregon could pass them up if they lose two.
Oregon in front of Florida!? Yep, that's right. Just wait for it. Florida schedules pathetic games, like high school teams compared to them.
Once they start playing hard teams, people better watch out. I think they'll end up out of the top-ten.
The three top opportunities to lose for the Longhorns come against the Sooners, @OK St, and @Kansas.
First of al,l the Sooners come to town to take on the Longhorns. They suffered a mighty loss this weekend to Miami. That basically takes Oklahoma out of the running for the title with two losses. But they're still a good team, and can't be denied.
Texas will do well not to overlook the struggling Sooners. The only real team the Longhorns have faced is Texas Tech, and they barely got away with a win there. McCoy had a bad game, and threw two picks.
Texas' passing game has since struggled, although they pick up massive yardage on the ground. If Oklahoma steps up the run defense, they will beat McCoy and company.
Miami had 140 yards on the ground, but no touchdowns. BYU had 28, and Tulsa and ISU combined for less then 100 yards. The run defense is great, and needs to be even better playing the Longhorns.
Texas has four running backs in the mix, all four doing great. That's gonna be hard to contain.
Then they have the Cowboys in Stillwater. Remember, the Cowboys beat Georgia already. Although suffering a loss, Oklahoma State is still playing top notch football.
They held Georgia to 95 yards rushing, containing their All-American running back. Houston made a mockery of the Cowboys though, rushing for 150 and passing for nearly 400.
Rice and Grambling St. combined for nearly 200 yards rushing. That's sad. GSU managed out almost 160 yards. Wow.
The stats seem against the Cowboys, but they do know how to win games. That's what counts. The stats were against South Carolina when playing Ole Miss. They were also against the Huskies playing USC...
If Oklahoma State can get a run defense going, you better believe they could beat Florida.
Finally, there's Kansas on the 24th of this month, in Kansas.
Kansas is 4-0, and has dominated opponents every game savor the Southern Miss game which came down to a touchdown. They allowed 64 rushing yards during that game, and not a lot of passing.
That's a pattern, but they haven't played anyone really decent yet with their opponents including Northern Colorado, UTEP, Duke, and Southern Miss.
The Jayhawks could be in trouble against Texas. At least most would assume such. But don't count 'em out, they could be the ones putting teams in trouble.
Kansas, again, knows how to win football games.
The key with all three games is going to be the run defense stepping it up.
I think Texas will lose to one of these teams, and be given a fight by all three. I think at the end of the season they can maintain a top 10 spot if they only lose once. Top 20 if they lose twice.
Either way, they end up behind Oregon.
3. Alabama. Alabama could end up losing to: @Mississippi, LSU, @Auburn.
The Crimson Tide have made a comeback this year, dominating the polls thus far at number three.
They too though, haven't played anyone impressive except Virginia Tech. Alabama won that game by 10 points, and has rolled since then to go 5-0.
This is a team that's no joke. Alabama has some serious weapons, and knows how to use them.
But the four games since V Tech are really just practice. They've played four mediocre at best teams. Kentucky actually did alright, getting 13 points before Alabama sent in the practice squad in the fourth quarter.
The Wildcats didn't do much right, but they did get some great rushes in.
So did Virginia Tech in the season opener. The stats don't account for much, as it shows them getting a mere 155 yards of total offense.
But the special teams, and nearly a football field of penalties against Alabama nearly cost them the game.
This Saturday Alabama travels to Mississippi to play the Rebels. Ole Miss was ranked number five until suffering a loss to the Gamecocks (the same 'Cocks that'll take down Florida).
Alabama again struggled with special teams defense, allowing FIU to get a 96 yard return for a touchdown. The Crimson Tide also had 65 yards of penalties, leading to another score for FIU.
The Panthers kept up good until the second half. It was 20-14 at half time.
Even though looking over scores reveals blowouts in nearly all the Crimson Tide's games, they have three known weaknesses. Penalties, their special teams, and the rush defense.
Arkansas got 60 yards on penalties and 102 on kick returns, a couple nearly for touchdowns.
What Miss has to do is concentrate on their kick and punt returning. That's where Alabama is week. Use the defensive All-Americans they have and force forth down situations.
Make them punt, and then return it all the way. That's the key for all these teams. Make the most of your special teams against Alabama.
Let the big guys up front open up some holes, and take off.
I think Ole Miss will lose this game honestly. But there's a chance they could win. That would shock the nation. It throws a kink in things, as that could mean Florida and Alabama would suffer loses this weekend.
It could also put LSU at number one.
Speaking of LSU...Alabama has them at home on November 7th.
I really like this Tigers team. I think they have a good chance at making it to the BCS National Championship.
Especially if they can seal victories against Florida and Alabama. That would be the golden ticket.
LSU edged out Georgia this past Saturday. Say what you will about the penalty, they deserved to win that game. They were challenged by Washington, Miss St, and Georgia.
But what does that show? They know how to win. No matter how bad things can seem, LSU gets the job done. They can take care of business, and I think they can against a Tebow lacking Gators team, and Alabama's penalty stricken team.
LSU is a team that actually can run the ball. The Tigers have a good duo in Charles Scott and Keiland Williams. They also have great special teams.
They're perfect for beating Alabama.
The Passing game is also strong, with Jordan Jefferson at the helm. He's already passed for nearly 1000 yards this year.
I'm not necessarily a fan of LSU, but lets just say both the Ducks and the Tigers need them to win these games.
The keys to success have already been said. And we all know the Tigers organization is smarter then me. They'll figure it out and hopefully get the win.
Last but certainly not least, we have the Auburn Tigers (what is it with the south and tigers?). Auburn is a dark horse in the polls, sitting comfortably undefeated at number 17.
West Virginia walked all over the Tigers in the first quarter of their game. After that, Auburn took over. And boy do they have a passing game. Any team would find them hard to contain, even a team like Alabama.
They simply outscore opponents. The best way to win. Ball State got 30 points on them. But, Auburn got 54. Tennessee got 22—Auburn got 26. The pattern?
The offense kills. The defense not so much. Alabama may be able to be the first team to outscore the Tigers. But then again, Auburn may outscore a struggling (presuming they lose one of the games previously mentioned) Alabama team.
They've had 200 yards rushing nearly every game. That's cause for concern for Alabama. The Tigers also managed 140 kick return yards against Tennessee.
I smell an upset...
I think Alabama will lose to LSU, and hopefully to Auburn or Miss as well. Losing to LSU puts them even with Oregon, and two losses...well that's below Oregon now isn't it?
LSU is a powerhouse this year. I truly believe that. This is the one team in the top four I'm actually rooting for.
If they pull off wins with Florida and Alabama, how amazing life would be. That would push Oregon up even more. Especially if the Ducks keep winning games the way they are now.
We've talked about two games Florida could lose—Florida and Alabama. I don't think they'll lose either of those.
But one they might very well overlook is Auburn. We've discussed Auburn already. Tigers vs. Tigers.
That's a great game right there. Auburn's unstoppable offense vs. LSU's unmovable defense.
If Auburn can keep up the rushing yards, mix it up with some passing, and make LSU blow coverage, they'll do what they do best. Outscore their opponent.
However, I think LSU will only lose to either Alabama or Auburn. Auburn would be a major upset and might put them in the top ten, if not the top five depending on how everyone else does.
The top five for me will include four teams other than those in it right now. LSU will stay in there, as well as Oregon, Cincinnati, Miami, and either Ohio State or Iowa, depending on who wins their game.
Cincinnati has two Heisman candidates right now. Miami has an easy schedule ahead of them except for South Florida. A win there and I think they'll finish in the top five.
Ohio State and Iowa play each other November 14th. That game decides which one finishes in the top five. Both I think won't lose until then.
Oregon of course takes the last spot. With wins over Stanford, Arizona, and USC they can seal the deal.
I could write a whole other article predicting the top five. But I've shown Oregon has a good chance of getting into the national championship.
Masoli should be good to go. If not, I believe in Nate Costa. The defense will regain Ward, and they've proved that they gel without Blount and Thurmond.
As long as the Ducks shutdown USC's freshman quarterback, have a great running game, and Ed Dickson plays like he plays now, we'll win that game. We win that game, and finish out the season with one loss, we're there.
The Ducks are headed for their first national championship. It has a nice ring to it: Oregon Ducks—2010 National Champions.
Get used to it, there may be t-shirts, hats, and commercials of it come January.