The Oregon Ducks still control their BCS national championship fate. But their margin for error is growing ever smaller as Kansas State, Notre Dame and Alabama keep winning.
All in all, it was probably the worst possible day for an Oregon Ducks team that just won a football game by the comical score of 70-14.
As expected, Oregon steamrolled Colorado. The Ducks didn't really have to worry too much about the result of this one, as they pile-drived the Buffs into oblivion by the second quarter. De'Anthony Thomas decided to make just about everyone on Colorado miss on this punt return.
For the third straight game, Oregon had control by midway through the second quarter and played backups for most of the second half. The Ducks are turning conference football games into fast and furious exhibitions.
So that was nice for Oregon. Everything else that the Ducks could control was less so.
Alabama, Kansas State and Notre Dame are the three teams that Oregon is fighting with for those final two spots and all had tough games. Alabama dispatched an undefeated Mississippi State team, Kansas State routed Texas Tech, and Notre Dame went into Norman and pummeled Oklahoma defensively. All three of those wins are more impressive than Oregon throttling hapless Colorado. Oregon will almost assuredly be 4th, although they would probably leapfrog a few teams with a strong finishing month.
USC and Oregon State are the two strongest opponents left on Oregon's schedule. They both lost to unranked foes and are no longer top ten opponents. And those wins the next few weeks aren't looking quite as fancy as they did when the season started.
It's not to say the Ducks don't control their own fate in this race. Oregon would probably finish the season with more ranked wins if they ran the table. But the BCS tightrope is getting thinner to walk on.
Oregon must keep on playing at the incredible level they've showcased the past few weeks to keep on impressing the human voters. Then they have to grab all the signature wins against marquee opponents the next five weeks to impress the computers. And then they have to hope that the other teams ahead of them in today's BCS projections begin stumbling.
There's no margin for error. The Ducks have to keep on playing well, because losing the human element could very well drop them back in the race and strip them of control of their own destiny.
It'd be a particularly cruel fate for the Ducks after months of unparalleled excellence in Eugene, but that's the way the BCS rolls.
SB Nation Snippet
Here is my biggest problem with the polls. Why isn't Oregon ranked #1? Look at what Oregon has done to its opponent this year and tell me there is another team in the country that would do the same thing. Alabama played starters until the 4th quarter and used their entire offense against Ole Miss. Kansas State? North Texas 35-21 at home, enough said. Notre Dame beat 0-4 in the Big Ten Purdue by 3. Oregon hasn't played starters all the way through a game the entire season. Their closest game was 17 points to a team they led 35-6 at halftime. I know voters want to put returning champs as #1, but in this case, I'd like to hear the arguments why, using what has happened in this season alone.