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Oregon Football: Who Stands in the Ducks' Way to the Natty?

Alex ShoemakerAnalyst IIJanuary 10, 2017

Oregon Football: Who Stands in the Ducks' Way to the Natty?

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    With a huge blowout win over the Stanford Cardinal, the Oregon Ducks are in place to beat the USC Trojans on Saturday and clinch a Pac-12 North title.

    Oregon sits at No. 4 in all three polls (coaches, writers, BCS) and are on the outside looking in at a national championship.

    In order for Oregon to play for the national championship, a lot of chaos will need to ensue.

    Five teams stand in the Ducks’ way: LSU, Oklahoma State, Alabama, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

No. 1 LSU

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    Remaining Schedule

    Nov 19 @ Ole Miss

    Nov 25 vs. No. 6 Arkansas

    *SEC Championship Game

     

    In the opening week of the college football season, the Oregon Ducks and LSU Tigers faced off in Dallas for the Cowboys Classic. Oregon’s inexperienced and turnover-prone team was no match for the Tigers, and it appeared that their title dreams were dashed.

    Now, ten weeks later, the Ducks need this same Tigers team to win out in order to have a rematch in New Orleans.

    Unfortunately, LSU still has a difficult road remaining. Oregon must hope for a rematch, for a one-loss LSU team would be ahead of a one-loss Oregon team.

    Hope for LSU to win out.

     

    *LSU would play in the SEC Championship game, likely against South Carolina, if the Tigers win out.

No. 2 Oklahoma State

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    Remaining Schedule

    Nov 18 @ Iowa State

    Dec 3 vs. No. 5 Oklahoma

     

    The Oklahoma State Cowboys have the best chance of dashing the Ducks’ national title dreams. At 10-0, the Cowboys control their destiny in playing for a BCS Championship.

    While the Cowboys shouldn’t overlook the Cyclones, the one realistic challenge remaining is the final week against rival Oklahoma. Oklahoma State has to lose a game, and it appears that it has to be the Sooners to make them do it.

    Hope Oklahoma beats Oklahoma State in a close game.

No. 3 Alabama

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    Remaining Schedule

    Nov 19 vs. Georgia Southern

    Nov 26 @ No. 24 Auburn

    *SEC Championship Game

     

    This is where the BCS conversations get interesting. What would be a better rematch: Oregon or Alabama?

    Ducks fans will tell you that Alabama had their chance nearly a few weeks ago (at home), while the Ducks are a completely different team that relied on numerous freshmen to step up on a national stage, and that turnovers killed the Ducks.

    Oregon is now syncing better than maybe any team in FBS football, and they deserve a shot at LSU again.

    But the Ducks have to become big Auburn fans (yeah, that Auburn that beat them in last season’s national title game). If the Auburn Tigers can beat rival Alabama, then the Ducks will hop them and be in the driver’s seat.

    War Eagle. Beat Bama.


    *If Arkansas beats LSU, there would be a three-way tie in the SEC West and Bama may be the division’s representative.

No. 5 Oklahoma

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    Remaining Schedule

    Nov 19 @ No. 22 Baylor

    Nov 26 vs. Iowa State

    Dec 3 @ No. 2 Oklahoma State

     

    This isn’t a sure-fire thing that the Sooners could jump the Ducks. It all depends on individual voters' preferences.

    A devastating loss to Texas Tech at home a few weeks back is the one thing that is anchoring this Sooners team. With Texas Tech's 66-6 loss to Oklahoma State, Oklahoma's loss to Texas Tech just keeps looking worse and worse.

    If Oklahoma can win out, it will be a close debate between Oregon and Oklahoma in placement.

    The Ducks need Oklahoma to beat OK State, but it would be nice if they slipped up to Baylor or Iowa State.

No. 6 Arkansas

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    Remaining Schedule

    Nov 19 vs. Miss State

    Nov 25 @ No. 1 LSU

    *SEC Championship Game

     

    There is no team lurking around as unnoticed as the Arkansas Razorbacks. It’s hard to believe that they could control their own destiny.

    The Ducks NEED Arkansas to lose to LSU. That’s not debatable. If Arkansas wins out, it would be nearly impossible for the Ducks to play for a national title.

    Root for Mississippi State and LSU.

     

    *If Arkansas beats Miss St. and LSU, they could play for the SEC Title.

Oregon

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    Remaining Schedule

    Nov 19 vs. USC

    Nov 25 vs. Oregon State

    *Pac-12 Championship Game

     

    The Ducks’ mantra of “Win The Day” is exactly what Oregon needs to focus on right. Ask head coach Chip Kelly and he’ll tell you the same thing.

    After a win over Stanford, Kelly said he doesn’t worry about the BCS standings because the only thing they can control is their own games. If the Ducks take care of business, they will be in a great bowl game.

    The Ducks have two (likely three) big games left, and they can’t afford a poor performance. The Ducks can control their own destiny.

     

    *The Ducks need one more win to clinch a Pac-12 North title to likely play Arizona State.

Recap

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    Games of Importance

    No. 6 Arkansas @ No. 1 LSU

    No. 5 Oklahoma @ No. 2 Oklahoma State

    No. 3 Alabama @ No. 24 Auburn

    No. 5 Oklahoma @ No. 22 Baylor

    (Teams in bold MUST win)

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