The Oregon Ducks are coming off their best season in the program’s 117-year history.
Their No. 3 ranking is the highest preseason ranking ever for the Ducks team, but if they want to have another shot at the national championship they simply cannot afford to lose their opening season game against the No. 4 LSU Tigers.
The founding fathers of Ducks Football include Oregon alumni and Nike co-founder Phil Knight, whose money and unique relationship with the program gives Oregon an advantage in recruiting (just think about the uniforms), former head coach and athletic director Mike Bellotti, and current head coach Chip Kelly. All three men did their part to turn a losing program into a championship contender.
Despite all their success in recent history, Oregon still waits for its first national championship, and many people believe that this year’s team has the talent to take the final step and win it all.
However, their chances of having a shot at the national championship game could be gone after Week One.
If Oregon loses tomorrow’s game at Cowboys Stadium against LSU, they will have a close to zero percent chance of competing for a spot in the 2012 national championship game.
The reason for this is very simple: Even if Oregon goes on win out the rest of their games, including the Pac-12 championship game, they still would have to hope that no Big Ten team or Big 12 team goes undefeated.
Even an unbeaten Boise State team has a higher chance of playing for the national championship than a one-loss Ducks team.
LSU on the other hand does not necessarily have to win tomorrows game and still might end up at the Louisiana Superdome on January 9, 2012.
Why you might be wondering? The easy answer is they play in the SEC, which is by far the best college football conference in the country. A one-loss SEC champion has an almost guaranteed spot in the national championship game.
This means Oregon has to win tomorrow’s game, or they will be eliminated from the pool of possible championship contenders.
Les Miles’ LSU Tigers on the other hand can afford to lose, but also have the unique opportunity of ending a teams’ season in week one.
The pressure is on Chip Kelly and his Oregon Ducks, whose fate will be determined in Week One.