The Oregon Ducks concluded the regular season this past weekend with a dramatic 36-35 victory over the Oregon State Beavers.
The win gives the Ducks six straight victories over OSU and in that same span, they have now finished each of the past six seasons with at least 10 wins — tying Alabama for the longest current streak in college football. After the devastating loss to Arizona, all hope seemed to be lost but after taking care of business this past week, Oregon still has a strong chance of earning a BCS bowl bid.
There are 10 BCS spots to be filled; six by conference champions and presumably the seventh being an at-large bid for the Alabama Crimson Tide.
With some help around the nation last weekend — defeats to Wisconsin and Fresno State — Oregon is now in the mix for the final three spots, alongside teams such as Baylor, Oklahoma, Northern Illinois, South Carolina and Clemson.
Now lets take a brief look at how this whole bowl selection could play out for the Ducks.
If it stands, No. 1 Florida State and No. 2 Ohio State will play in the BCS championship game Jan. 6th, as long as the Buckeyes defeat No. 10 Michigan State in the Big Ten title game and the committee doesn’t favor a one-loss SEC champion over a team that holds the nation’s longest current win streak of 24 games.
In that case, Michigan State will likely grab an at-large bid to face off against the Pac-12 champion, either Arizona State or Stanford, in the Rose Bowl.
Next, lets look at the Orange Bowl. They would likely select the highest ranked at-large bid in Alabama with the first choice, because the winner of the SEC matchup between Auburn and Mizzou will headline the Sugar Bowl. Then, they will select one more at-large candidate, which opens the door to make this arguably the best bowl game of the season, aside from the national championship.
Why is this the case?
Well some, including Jerry Palm of CBS Sports and Stewart Mandel of SI.com, believe the Bowl game’s close ties with the ACC will migrate towards giving No. 13 Clemson the nod. However, Bleacher Report columnists Scott Polacek and Pedersen believe that the Oregon and Alabama matchup everyone has been clamoring for the past few years, will be too enticing to pass up.
Though both the Ducks and Tigers are even at 10-2 – Florida State dismantled Clemson earlier in the year and the Tigers have not looked like an elite team since — also suffering a definitive loss to South Carolina in their season finale this past weekend.
If the Tigers were to be selected over Oregon, the Ducks have also been projected to play Oklahoma in the Alamo Bowl, as they get second pick from the Pac-12.
Also something to pay attention to are the conference championship games this weekend, which could have a big impact on the bowl selections.
Baylor hosts a tough Texas team, while Northern Illinois faces a Bowling Green defense that ranks 5th in the nation in points allowed, and the Michigan State Spartans get their chance to ruin the Ohio State Buckeyes’ winning streak and title hopes.
Both matchups, whether it is Oklahoma or Alabama, would be good games for Oregon fans to watch. But lets face it, the whole country wants to see Oregon and Alabama lineup against one another, even if it isn’t in the national title game.