Five weeks into the 2010 college football season, there are two teams that appear head-and-shoulders above the competition: Alabama and Oregon.
Yes, there are definitely some other undefeated teams still in the national title hunt that will challenge both the Crimson Tide and Ducks for the right to be called the best team in the nation.
At No. 2 in both polls, it certainly could be argued that Ohio State is better than both ‘Bama and Oregon. However, with their unimpressive win against Illinois, some are beginning to question just how dominant the Buckeyes can be in Big Ten play.
Oklahoma and Nebraska, both still undefeated, could definitely make runs at the national championship.
Boise State and TCU are playing as well as any other team in the nation. But, because of their status as mid-majors, they won’t be considered for the national title unless no major conference squads finish undefeated.
So, as of right now, Oregon and Alabama appear to be the class of the country. Both teams are coming off of resounding victories over supposedly the second-best teams in their respective conferences and neither team appears to have any significant weaknesses.
But, there are a few factors that should contribute to Oregon having an easier time than 'Bama at winning their conference and earning that automatic BCS bid.
With that in mind, here are five reasons why Oregon is in a better position to win the Pac-10 than Alabama is to win the SEC.
As a college football fan who loves offense, there is nothing more better than watching the Oregon Ducks play football.
This team can flat out score.
After five games, the Ducks are first in the nation in scoring offense (56.6 points a game) and appear unstoppable on the ground.
Last week, against a Stanford defense that had been allowing just under 14 points a game, Oregon scored 52 points and racked up 626 yards of offense in their 21-point victory.
After going into the season somewhat unsure of how their offense would perform without quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, those worries have been completely unfounded.
New starting quarterback Darron Thomas has already passed for 1,060 yards and 13 touchdowns to go along with 219 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns.
Running back LaMichael James, despite missing the opening game due to suspension, has already rushed for 712 yards and 7 touchdowns on 8 yards a carry.
Although according to the old adage, defense wins championships, that rule doesn’t apply to the Pac-10.
Other than maybe their game against Arizona in November, Oregon looks like they will be able to put up these kind of numbers for the rest of the year.
Although in no way can Oregon take the rest of their schedule lightly, they’ve already overcome arguably their toughest challenge in the Pac-10: Stanford.
Going down to L.A. to take on USC certainly won’t be a cakewalk, but the Trojans just aren’t the same under Lane Kiffin. Washington just beat USC in the Coliseum last weekend and with hardly anything to play for, the Trojans probably won’t have the motivation to overcome the difference in talent between themselves and Oregon.
A road game at Cal and a home bout against the Huskies could pose a few problems for the Ducks, but their closest calls will likely come in late November and early December.
On November 26, the Ducks get No. 9 Arizona in Eugene. The Wildcats will bring in a defense that may actually be able to contain Oregon’s high-powered ‘O’. If they can, there’s a decent chance ‘Zona could pull off the upset.
Then, in their season finale, Oregon has to travel to Corvallis to face rival Oregon State. Never an easy game, the 2010 version of the Civil War could once again decide the Pac-10 crown.
That said, Oregon’s schedule is conducive to a conference title jaunt. Whether the Ducks can pull it off remains to be seen.
Whereas Oregon’s schedule probably favors the Ducks making a conference title run, ‘Bama’s does anything but.
On Saturday, the Tide must travel to Columbia to face South Carolina in what could be a classic SEC showdown. Unlike the past few years, the Gamecocks are playing really well this year and could be the best team in the SEC East.
Then, ‘Bama must go to Baton Rouge on November 6 for a game that could be the deciding factor in the SEC West. If the Tide hope to repeat as conference champs, they'll need to win this battle with LSU.
Finally, as if that wasn’t enough, Alabama faces in-state rival Auburn at home in the annual Iron Bowl. After struggling the past few years, Auburn is once again one of the top teams in the country. This season-ending clash could decide who will be representing the SEC West in Atlanta for the conference championship game.
Not only does Alabama have to get through their grueling regular season schedule, but they then must win the conference title game.
No, the East is nowhere near as strong as the West this year in the SEC. But regardless, Alabama will have to face the likes of either probably Florida or South Carolina for a repeat match-up. And, as everyone knows, it’s not easy beating an opponent twice in a year.
Oregon, on the other hand, plays their conference schedule and is done. Not fair, but that’s the life of an SEC team as opposed to a Pac-10 team.
Finally, Alabama doesn’t have history on their side. Repeating as conference champs, especially in the SEC, is not an easy thing to do.
Take last year for example. Florida, after defeating Alabama in the SEC championship game the year before en route to the national title, looked unstoppable going into their Round 2 SEC title game match-up with the Tide.
Final score: Alabama 32, Florida 13
So no, no matter how good you look going into the SEC title game, repeating as conference champs is not an easy feat.
In fact, the last time a team repeated as SEC champs was Tennessee way back in 1997 and 1998. To put a little perspective on that fact, guess who the Volunteers’ starting quarterback was at the time?
You guessed it. Peyton Manning.
Yeah, it's been a while.