The once-lucky Ducks got a couple of dominoes to fall just right, but then reality stepped in with a BCS busting of their January 1 dreams Saturday night.
Michigan State upset Ohio State in the Big 10 Championship, a result that probably shuts Oregon out of the BCS bowls.
Steering toward a rematch: the last time Oregon met Texas, the Ducks castrated the Longhorns 35-30, behind a four-touchdown night by Joey Harrington in the 2000 Holiday Bowl. The two teams are likely to square off again in the Alamo Bowl December 30th, as the Ducks didn't do enough to earn a BCS bid, faltering in November (AP photo, CNNsi.com).
Undefeated ACC Champ Florida State and SEC Champ 12-1 Auburn will meet in the BCS Championship, January 6th in Pasadena.
Big 12 Champion Baylor is likely to draw AAAC Champion Central Florida in the Fiesta Bowl. The AAAC winners are automatic qualifiers after their win over SMU Saturday.
The Rose Bowl becomes a classic and traditional matchup, two-time PAC-12 Champion Stanford hosting Big 10 Champion Michigan State.
It was the Spartans that derailed the Ducks. By upsetting Urban Meyer and Ohio State Saturday night, they earned the Rose Bowl instead of dropping out of the Top 14 and BCS contention. That meant the Big 10 would get two BCS bowl bids instead of two, with the Buckeyes likely to draw Clemson in the Orange Bowl in a matchup of two at-large squads.
The Sugar Bowl is likely to take 11-1 Alabama versus Oklahoma, who beat #6 Oklahoma State on the road on Saturday, climbing into the Top 14 and at-large consideration. Like Oregon Oklahoma has a 10-2 record, but the Schooners have that marquee win over the Cowboys and a rabid fan base. Oregon didn't sell out their 17,500-seat allotment for last year's Fiesta Bowl, and slumped severely in national perception after losses to Stanford and Arizona in November. The host Sugar Bowl has a tie-in agreement with the Big-12 and SEC starting next year.
10-2 Clemson and Ohio State are projected to be picked for the Orange Bowl. Official announcements will be made on the Sunday night BCS selection show on ESPN.
Oregon had hope when Northern Illinois fell, more possibilities when the Sooners won Bedlam, but Michigan State's win changed the equation. In the end, the Ducks didn't do enough to take care of their own business. They could have controlled their own destiny by beating Stanford or Arizona, even played for the Rose Bowl that they disdained a couple of weeks ago.
This is the last season of the BCS, and many college football fans will say good riddance. Even with a four-team playoff, teams will have to earn their way in, and the only sure way to get an invite for the big prize is to win all your games.
Oregon has a great opportunity to change the narrative, starting with a win over Texas in the Alamo Bowl pm December 30th. They'll face Big 10 Champ Michigan State in Autzen Stadium on September 13 next season.
The Ducks have quite a history with the Big 12, bowl wins over Texas and Oklahoma State, and this deflating loss to Oklahoma in 2005:
Lets see how Florida State and Auburn do in selling out Pasadena. I would go to the Rose Bowl or the BCS if it were Oregon but not this year. How about next year?
@SonomaDuck Auburn will travel in record numbers for a return to the Championship Game. Tiger fans were offering three house payments for tickets outside the stadium when the Ducks met them in the Fiesta Bowl. I almost sold mine, and with 20 second left in the game, I wish I had.
@zduckfan Indeed Urban Meyer pays for his slavish devotion to expediency and creampuff scheduling, and the Ducks pay for their inattention.
@Dale Newton @zduckfan Still hacks me off, are you telling me Oklahoma is worthy? No flipping way and what does it mean to the PAC-12 in terms of revenue. Overall, it's been an exciting regular season of college football. I don't feel the 4 team format of next year is to resolve the BS of years past BcS.
@NEUTRONRKN @Dale Newton @zduckfan Neut--you wouldn't be perhaps Roger Kent Newton, would you? The sad reality is, except for the automatic-qualifying conference champions, BCS bowl organizers can take who they want among the top 14 teams. Oklahoma gets in because of money. That's the deciding factor. Oregon didn't sell out their 17,500 allotment to last year's Fiesta Bowl, and the tradition-rich Schooners travel much better.
On the field, Oklahoma has wins over #6 Oklahoma State, #22 Notre Dame, and #10 Texas Tech (all rankings at the time of the game). It's a stronger resume than Oregon's. The Ducks screwed themselves. A Top 8 playoff would be better, but 4 is better than 2. You're absolutely right that it's been a great regular season. Rece Davis has argued that one of the BENEFITS of the BCS is that it has created the most passionately-followed, closely-watched regular season in sports.