USC vs Oregon: Ducks Will Pave Way to BCS Title Game in Pac-12 Showdown

Steven Gerwel@Steve_GerFeatured Columnist IVNovember 3, 2012

EUGENE, OR - OCTOBER 27:  Kenjon Barner #24 of the Oregon Ducks runs runs for a touchdown against the Colorado Buffaloes on October 27, 2012 at the Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

The Oregon Ducks are still attempting to recover from their 2010 BCS Championship loss to Cam Newton and the Auburn Tigers. 

The only antidote is a second BCS title game appearance in three years and an unlikely victory over Alabama—who will certainly be the opponent in such a scenario. 

But as the cliché goes, the Ducks must take it one game at a time. 

The undefeated Ducks are coming off a 70-14 stomping over Colorado, but if you believe in bad omens, you're probably not thrilled about that victory. 

Oregon plays USC after beating Colorado last week. Every FBS team to beat Colorado this year has lost its next game (incl USC last week)

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 2, 2012

If you believe in logic over superstition, then you're comfortable with the notion that Oregon will handle the USC Trojans this weekend.  

The Trojans—currently sitting with a 6-2 record despite being preseason National Title contenders—certainly possess the talent to upset Oregon, but lack the necessary swagger.

Oregon should soundly defeat USC, barring a total meltdown. 

Kickoff is on Saturday, November 3, at 7:00 pm ET. 

Keys to an Oregon Victory

The Oregon Ducks will pull off a victory using the usual method—exploding on offense and leaving the opponent in their dust.

A dominate defense imposes fear physically, whereas an equally dominate offense inflicts fear mentally. 

The opposing defense realizes that if they so much as blink, they'll be down by three scores, which understandably causes a great deal of anxiety. The Ducks, who have averaged 53.3 points per game in 2012, certainly bring that threat to the table.

Heisman hopeful Kenjon Barner will be the focal point of Oregon's offensive attack against USC. Barner has 974 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns on the season, including four consecutive 100-yard games and five touchdowns in the last two weeks. 

Barner finished with well over 100 total yards against Colorado a week ago, despite limited playing time. 

Kenjon Barner's last touch came with 12:36 to play in 2nd quarter. He finished with 151 all-purpose yds & 2 TDs #GoDucks

— Andy McNamara (@McNamaraUO) October 28, 2012

If USC expects an upset, they'll have to come up with an answer for Barner. 

Not only that, but they'll have to limit the Oregon offense early on, which will inevitably lead to frustration and discouragement

BCS Title Outlook for Oregon

With four games remaining on the schedule—three against ranked teams—the Ducks still have work to do if a National Championship appearance is in their future. 

These are the remaining games on Oregon's schedule: No. 17 USC, California, No. 14 Stanford, No. 11 Oregon State. All three of the ranked teams have crumbled at some point this season and are beatable. USC lost to Stanford and Arizona; Stanford lost to Washington and Notre Dame; Oregon State lost to Washington. 

If they do finish undefeated, they still must make a case that they deserve an appearance over other undefeated schools. 

The other two undefeated teams competing for a National Title appearance against Alabama, Kansas State and Notre Dame, have zero top-20 teams remaining on their schedules, while Oregon has three.

Even if those two teams win the remainder of their games, the edge would have to go to Oregon due to their strength of schedule. 

In other words, Oregon controls their own fate. 

As long as they keep winning, the process will take care of itself. 


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.