Following this week’s action, the race for the BCS National Championship game became even more chaotic. There are three teams that all have a legitimate case for why they should be given a chance to face Alabama for the “crystal ball.”
Even though Oregon embarrassed lowly Colorado 70-14 yesterday, they were the biggest losers of the day. The Ducks have won week after week and maintained second place in all major polls, but they keep falling in the computer rankings. This is because their schedule has been very unimpressive up to this point. Meanwhile, Kansas State and Notre Dame have handled ranked opponents over the past few weeks to earn the praise of the computers.
While both K-State and the Irish have already played their toughest games of the year, Oregon still has a number of challenges ahead of them. Many believed that if the Ducks could finish the season undefeated then they would clearly have the best resume of the three teams. That was true until both USC and Oregon State were upset on the road. Now, even if Oregon conquers the Trojans, Beavers and Stanford, they may not get a shot at the national title because these possible wins will no longer look as impressive.
This entire dilemma could have been settled if Kansas State and Oregon had met earlier this season. The Ducks and Wildcats were scheduled to play a home-and-home series in 2011-2012, but the games were cancelled due to what Kansas State called a “mutual agreement.”
According to Kellis Robinett of the Kansas City Star, “Bill Snyder didn’t want to play the game.” He got lucky when Oregon asked K-State if they could move the series back a year, so the Ducks could kick off the 2011 season against LSU.
When this happened, “the Wildcats suggested not playing at all,” as reported by Ivan Maisel of ESPN.com “Both teams agreed.”
While it is said that these two programs made this decision mutually, it is clear that Kansas State wanted out of facing the Ducks. Oregon has lost just one game at Autzen Stadium during Chip Kelly’s four-year tenure as head coach.
Bill Snyder probably believed that a trip to the Pacific Northwest would be a death sentence, so he did not see the point in fulfilling the agreement. Little did he know that these two teams would be fighting for a trip to the BCS National Championship.
If Kansas State and Oregon are both undefeated come December 2nd, which of these teams deserves to make the trip to Miami in January? While there is a chance that they could play each other for the Coaches’ Trophy, that is very unlikely because Alabama seems unbeatable. So, if it comes down to picking Oregon or Kansas State to try to end the SEC’s six-year hold on the country, which one should be given the opportunity?
If I were a voter, I would penalize Kansas State for cancelling their trip to Eugene. I may be a little biased, but the Ducks are the better team. They may have a freshman quarterback, but their performance over the past few years should be taken into consideration.
Oregon is the reigning champion of the Rose Bowl and has appeared in a BCS game the past three seasons. If Kansas State chickened out of playing the Ducks then does that mean that they believe that they are a worse team? The Ducks' second-ranked offense would certainly agree. As would their much-improved defense, which is the best they have had in their recent stretch of Pac-12 dominance.
Furthermore, Oregon’s starters have not finished a game the entire season. Their second- and third- stringers have seen more action than their starters on a number of occasions because Chip Kelly wants to avoid injuries and overly embarrassing the opposition.
If Marcus Mariota, De’Anthony Thomas and Kenjon Barner played every snap of the season, the Ducks would probably claim a number of records each week.
If Kelly were Collin Klein’s coach, he would give him a breather after halftime every so often. That’s what he does with his Heisman contenders, Thomas and Barner. They would probably be right at the top of most Heisman boards if they played more than a quarter and a half each week.
Overall, the facts are plain and simple. We can speculate as much as we want, but we will never know which team is better. It should come down to the fact that K-State didn’t want to face Chip Kelly’s dominant squad and thus should not get rewarded with a trip to the BCS National Championship Game.