Can Oregon Realistically Make the Playoff?

Ryan Robertson Editorials 73 Comments

Every year there are media darlings in college football. In 2010 it was Cam Newton, willing the Auburn Tigers to victory week in and week out. 2019 had Joe Burrow and his historically great passing season, and of course the media loves teams like Notre Dame and Texas every season, no matter how good they are.

2020 has a couple of candidates for the team that the media loves the most. Clemson, with a loss to the aforementioned Fighting Irish, has Trevor Lawrence, one of the most hyped college football players of all time. Notre Dame and Alabama have looked fantastic, but the media is bored with Alabama being good, and with Notre Dame playing in the ACC, they aren’t as interesting as usual.

But one player looks, to me, like the 2020 media darling: Kyle Trask, QB for the Florida Gators. Trask is on pace for 56 touchdown passes, and over 4,000 yards passing. He is completing 70 percent of his passes on the season, and is a legitimate candidate for the Heisman Trophy. The national media loves this Gator QB.

What does this have to do with Oregon making the playoff? Well, Florida has a loss. Just one single loss to a top five ranked team, and it was a close game. Oregon is only going to have maybe 6-7 games of tape, so they will be competing with the one loss teams for playoff spots. An undefeated season is not a guaranteed playoff berth, because the body of work may just not be enough.

Tom Corno

Noah Sewell makes his presence felt against the Cougars

So the question will be, can an undefeated Oregon, without a signature win, get in to the playoffs over a one loss Florida, who will have six huge games in primetime on national television, and a potential Heisman finalist at QB?

If Florida wins out, the Ducks will have to potentially contend with Alabama, assuming the Gators beat them in the conference championship game and Texas A&M, who already beat the Gators.

The media loves the SEC: they always have, and they always will. This year, that love affair and the Pac-12 taking until mid-season to start playing games may keep the Ducks out of the playoff, no matter how well they play.

What do you think it would take from Florida and the SEC for Our Beloved Ducks to make the College Football Playoff this year?

Ryan Robertson
Yuma, Arizona
Top Photo By Tom Corno

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Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Santa Rosa Duck wins the WSU Game Prediction!

The spread of 14 had Santa Rosa Duck at four points away, as well as Duckpop22. However Santa Rosa had Oregon with more points, and thus the tie-breaker I used. This was completely arbitrary, and there are no prizes and both are Duck-Buddies of mine and a choice had to be made!

Make your prediction in my Saturday morning article before the game. (I can’t keep track of them earlier in the week)

Contestant: Oregon Score WSU Score Point Spread

Santa Rosa Duck 35 17 18
Duckpop22 31 21 10
Mike West 56 24 32
PittDuck 32 12 20
duckcardinal 27 21 6
Phil Anderson 31 24 6
DuckUp 41 20 21
Haywarduck 47 6 41
GODucks15 31 27 4
Brent Pennington 38 17 21
30Duck 35 27 8

If I missed anyone’s….sorry! Do post your prediction on Saturday morning when I have an article about the upcoming game with UCLA. It is fun and yes….I will do better at keeping track and it is probable I’ll have to devise more/more tiebreakers.

Charles, has a kick off time for Saturday been set? And any idea on the networks broadcasting the game? Thanks.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

It will be on ESPN (per and the time is yet to be announced.

Thank you.

Santa Rosa Duck

Thank you Charles, I have an acceptance speech drafted but I need to further review it.

Plus Jon Joseph, if you need some coaching here, do not hesitate to check in.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Made me laugh Santa Rosa!

Next time I will give my prediction as well, but it would not have mattered this week as I thought we would be fortunate with a six point win.

It’s all fun…

Jon Joseph

Need all the help I can get my friend! After all, last week I placed a bet on USC!

Congratulations. But heavy lies the crown.

It’s Hayward up here in the tree, out on that branch. Could you send the defense up to get me down from here, I’m stuck!

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Made me laugh! You are a good sport, and a great fan.

Duck lifer

Making it to the playoffs would be exciting. I know how giddy I would get that we finally have another shot and then all the “what ifs” would start dancing around in my head like a dervish… what if the cb’s and all the db’s get everything locked down? What if Moorehead and Avalos have the perfect game plans, and what if the players execute everything perfectly? But then I would remember how we looked the 1st two games, and then fear and doubt would begin to creep in…what if we get beat 56-0? Getting beat and getting beat badly could have disastrous consequences for Oregon and the pac12. And right now, I’m just not sure we have all the pieces in place to be a real contender. We have to see a lot of improvement in a lot of areas very quickly or I wouldn’t even want to see our boys in the playoffs. Never thought I would say something like that, but the national perception of the conference is at an all time low and rebuilding that reputation and perception will take time and some stellar play from a few of our league teams. Now? I would love for our team to continue to play every week, make improvements, and finish the season on a strong note. If all that happens, next year will be very exciting indeed!


Probably not going to happen…..oh well. I am just grateful to be watching the Ducks again. I hope they are taking it play by play and game by game and not worrying about all this playoff bs.

Before our season started up I was getting tired of trying to figure who else to root for. I finally landed on Indiana. I hope they smoke the suckeyes this week.

Before the Big 10 started back up I found myself rooting for North Carolina and BYU……never thought that would of happened.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Bass Earns Pac-12 Offensive Lineman Honors



EUGENE, Ore. – For the second consecutive week, an Oregon offensive lineman has been named the Pac-12 Conference Offensive Lineman of the Week. Junior T.J. Bass claimed this week’s honor after a dominating performance in the Ducks’ 43-29 league win at Washington State.    

Bass earned the award after grading out as the highest-rated guard in the Pac-12 by Pro Football Focus with a grade of 74.6. Making just his second career Division-I start, Bass didn’t allow a hit or hurry on the quarterback in 25 pass blocking snaps. He also finished with the second-best run-blocking grade in the Pac-12 for the week at 76.4.

Bass Notables
» Earned a 96 percent assignment grade from the Oregon Coaches.
» Became the fifth Ducks’ offensive lineman to win the honor since its inception before the 2019 season.
» Joins Penei Sewell (4), Shane Lemieux (2), Calvin Throckmorton (2) and teammate Ryan Walk (1) as Ducks who have combined to win the award 10 times in the 14 weeks a UO lineman could be nominated.
» Part of an offensive attack that totaled 581 yards of offense at Washington State, good for the program’s most in a Pac-12 games since 2017 and the most in a league road game since 2014.
» Paved the way for 269 rushing yards for the second consecutive game.
» Spearheaded a second-half rushing attack that gained 213 of its 268 yards after intermission.


Mr. FishDuck Note: It will be nice to have each of these announcements in separate threads later in a forum!

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Ducks Ink Trio of Top 50 Players



EUGENE, Ore. – Oregon signed three players rated among the top 50 high schoolers nationally, head coach Dana Altman announced on Monday.

ESPN rates Nathan Bittle as the eighth-best prospect in the nation, with Franck Kepnang at No. 22 and Johnathan Lawson at No. 47. That class was ranked No. 1 in the nation last month by ESPN and No. 8 by Sports Illustrated.

Bittle, the 2020 Oregon 5A player of the year for Crater High School, is the sixth five-star signee (247Sports) for the Ducks since 2017. He is the highest-rated in-state recruit landed by Oregon, surpassing 2020 Bob Cousy National Point Guard of the Year Payton Pritchard of West Linn. Last week, Bittle was named to the 2021 Naismith Trophy high school boys watch list.

Kepnang, from Yaoundé, Cameroon, prepped at Westtown High School in West Chester, Pa. He is ranked among the top eight centers nationally by ESPN, Rivals and 247Sports and is in the top 50 players overall by those three services.

Lawson, the 2020 Tennessee Gatorade Player of the Year and Class AA Mr. Basketball, is the younger brother of current Duck sophomore Chandler Lawson and will become the fourth member of the Lawson family to play Division I basketball.

“We were fortunate to be able to get to know these three young men and their families during the recruiting process,” said Altman. “It was really significant to keep a gifted player like Nathan in the state of Oregon and Johnathan and Franck are equally talented. Each of these three young men brings a unique skill set to our program. Our fans are going to enjoy getting to know them and watching them represent the University of Oregon.”

Nathan Bittle. 6-11, 200, Central Point, Ore. (Crater HS/Prolific Prep)
Five-star center according to ESPN, 247Sports and Rivals … Ranked as the nation’s second-best center by ESPN and No. 3 by 247Sports and Rivals … The No. 8 player nationally in his class by ESPN (grade of 94), No. 16 from 247Sports (grade of 98) and No. 19 by Rivals … Named to the 2021 Naismith Trophy high school boys watch list … Earned All-America honors as both a sophomore and a junior from MaxPreps and USA Today … Was the 2020 Oregon 5A state player of the year as a junior at Crater High School … Averaged 25.6 points, 11.3 rebounds, 4.5 blocks, 2.4 assists and 1.2 steals per game to lead the Comets to the 2020 5A state semifinals before the tournament was halted due to the Covid-19 Pandemic … In the state quarterfinal game versus West Albany, tied his own Oregon tournament record with 10 blocks to go along with 35 points and 15 rebounds … Initially recorded 10 blocks versus Pendleton in the 2019 tournament when he also scored 40 points with 16 rebounds … As a sophomore (2018-19), averaged 21.3 points, 8.5 rebounds and 4.5 blocks per game … Named one of 13 finalists for the 2019 USA Basketball U16 National Team … Transferred to Prolific Prep in Napa, Calif., for his senior season.

Johnathan Lawson. 6-6, 165, Memphis, Tenn. (Wooddale HS)
Four-star small forward according to ESPN and Rivals … Rated as the 47th-best player nationally in his class by ESPN, which gave him a grade of 85 … The No. 10 small forward in the nation according to ESPN … In Tennessee, was ranked as the state’s No. 2 player by ESPN and No. 4 by 247Sports, which assigned him a rating of 89 … Averaged 26.1 points, 12.3 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game as a junior for Wooddale High School (2019-20) … Shot 64 percent from the field, including 48 percent from three-point range … Was the 2020 Tennessee Gatorade Player of the Year and Class AA Mr. Basketball … Coached by his father Keelon Lawson at Wooddale … The younger brother of current UO sophomore Chandler Lawson … Older brother Dedric Lawson played collegiately at Memphis and Kansas, while another brother, K.J. Lawson, played for Memphis and Tulane.

Franck Kepnang. 6-11, 225, Yaoundé, Cameroon (Westtown (Pa.) HS)
Ranked in the top 50 overall and among the top 10 for centers in the class of 2021 … Rated No. 22 in the nation by ESPN (88 grade), No. 28 by Rivals and No. 42 by 247Sports (95 grade) … Among centers, is ranked fourth nationally ESPN, fifth by Rivals and eighth by 247Sports … Rated as the No. 3 player in Pennsylvania by 247Sports and No. 4 by ESPN … Averaged 11 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks per game for Westtown High School (West Chester, Pa.) in 2019-20 … Played for PSA Cardinals on the grassroots circuit … Born in Yaoundé, Cameroon … Mother is Hortense Tchuisseu.


I think it’s great! Don’t even worry about the playoffs. As a matter of fact, I think they should play as if going undefeated won’t get them into the playoffs. The pressure is off. Win the PAC-12 title and let the “experts” plead your case. If they get in great, if not they were hosed. Win-win in my very humble opinion. We have to have a single game mindset.

We all know there are many things to improve upon. They need to focus on that and everything else will work itself out. This coaching staff is off the charts. I’m so excited to see what this team looks like next week, because I am confident it will be different than last week. It a great feeling when as a fan I don’t have to worry if the team will be “up” for the game.

The way they seem “prepared” at kickoff allows me to see the flaws with a grain of salt and enjoy the wins. I love this community for allowing us Duck fans a place to voice our concerns and praise for our beloved team. Thank you Charles.

Jon Sousa

Well said. I totally agree.


I hope the Ducks don’t make it. They’re not ready for prime time yet. I’ll revise my opinion after the next 5 games. So far they look like a 2nd half team. If that changes and IF they win the Pac 12 Championship game and through the course of the remaining games improve and become a juggernaut then I say yeah lets give the CFP a go if the opportunity arrives.
As of now it could be embarrassing.

Jon Joseph

FYI – NCAA has announced that this season’s CBB tournament will be held at a single location; likely in Indianapolis.

Jon Sousa

That sounds like a bummer. Gonna hurt a lot of local economies.

Jon Joseph

That need help!

Sherman Poindexter

I think there is an angle that some people are missing.
IF Oregon can go 7-0, regardless of the vagaries and vicissitudes of other conferences and teams, I think “corporate think” takes over.

“Corporate think” in this instance means subtle pressure throughout media, college football honchos and billion dollar business sponsors to expand the reach of the game beyond the Southest (SEC & ACC) and Midwest (BIG10 & BIG12)
In this scenario, the pull of an undefeated PAC12 champion becomes more compelling by the week.

REGARDLESS of the quality of the Ducks opponents or the limited number of games.

The fact is:::: There is literally ZERO chance a group of 5 team is chosen over an undefeated PAC12 champion.

And with the BIG10 only playing 2 more games than the PAC12, there is only 1 team coming out of that conference. And I don’t care if Indiana is the feel good story of the year. If they lose to Ohio State, they’re finished.

I think there are only 2 scenarios that might give the selection committee pause –
1. A 1 loss Clemson and a 1 loss Notre Dame.
2. A 1 loss Alabama and a 1 loss Florida.

Otherwise, I think the push is going to be too persuasive and pervasive to overcome the inherent power of an undefeated PAC12 champion.

That’s how I see it.

Jon Joseph

‘Corporate think?’

You do know that ESPN ‘owns’ the playoff and also owns the ACC and SEC networks, right?

A 7-0 Ducks SOS is unlikely to be better than an undefeated Cincinnati’s SOS. And a IL A+M will have lost at Bama and have a win over Florida.

What if Bama’s only L comes against UF in a close SEC champ game?

And if Indiana hangs with Ohio State Saturday, is Indy out for sure?

What about a 1L Wisconsin with a close champ game L versus Ohio State.

ND hangs with Clemson in the ACC champ game, aren’t both teams in?

Here’s what I think? 1st and of course, I note that it doesn’t matter what I think; but, I do think the CFB community has little or no difficulty giving the Pac-12 the shaft.

If the playoff powers that be wanted a 7 game Pac-12 champ team in this season, it could have expanded to field to 8 teams. It didn’t.

And, you do not get national prestige by beating 0-2 Stanford and 1-1 Washington State and playing in a conference with 2 teams ranked in the top 25.

Sherman Poindexter

Guess we disagree.

You seem kinda upset.
Are you a Cincinnati homer?
In what universe is Cincinnati getting in the playoff over a 7-0 USC or a 7-0 Oregon?
It ain’t happening.

Jon Joseph

I’m not the least bit upset. I’m sorry if you thought that was the case.

I think perhaps you are right regarding a 7-0 Pac-12 champ trumping an undefeated Cincinnati? I have seen arguments posted elsewhere that the Committee will not want to set a precedent by letting a G5 team in. Where does the most flak come from if the CT leaves out a 7-0 Ducks or an undefeated Cincy? Politics will be in play if it comes to this choice being made. How much juice does the conference and Larry Scott have? I don’t know.

[BTW: A+M’s chances are hurt by the back to back ‘postponements’ with the Ole Miss game called off this Saturday. I think at least 1 of the postponed games will end up being canceled.]

So, if you are correct, which you well could be, that no undefeated P5 champ, even at 7-0 will be bumped by a G5 team, let’s set Cincy and BYU aside. Does a Pac-12, 7-0 champ with one game, if that, versus a top 25 opponent beat out a 1L Clemson, Notre Dame, Alabama, Florida, A+M? Wisconsin, if the L is a close 1 vs Ohio State in the B1G champ game; or, a 1L Indiana if Indy’s only loss comes against current AP 3 Ohio State or 10 Wisconsin?

An undefeated Bama/OH ST are obviously in. A 1L Clemson or Notre Dame is in. What about both ND and Clemson with 1L? Both would have a far better SOS than Oregon and a far better win if they defeat one another..

How about a 1L OK ST that would have an L vs TX but a win over OK and a better SOS than Oregon?

Although I think the game could get ugly, I do hope the Ducks make the final 4. But at this point in the season I thing it is a long shot. As do all of the playoff predictor formulas.

IF ‘it’ has a chance of happening, Oregon best start tossing a whole bunch of eye candy in the Committee’s direction.

Sherman Poindexter


Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Oh they might feel a little bad about giving the Pac-12 the shaft … but they’ll do it anyway!

Jon Sousa

Nothing to disagree with here. Good argument.

Another perspective on “corporate-think” is going with the teams that have the best television markets, and travel the best.

Versus the south and mid-west? The Pac-12 may not fare so well in that discussion…

But that is my take; yours could prevail, and it will be interesting to watch if the Ducks do win-out.

Jon Sousa

Good perspective Ryan. Maybe a more important question would be, Do you care?

Before our season started, folks on here were saying it was impossible, because the body of work would not be there; a 7-0 Duck team would lose out to a one loss SEC team. People here were saying, “This year is a good extended practice and we will be ready for 2021. 7-0 and a Fiesta Bowl!”

Then as our season was about to start, people in the media were saying, “A 7-0 PAC12 team should absolutely get in.” Hope started to rise here at FishDuck. Each week we saw posted here projections that had the Ducks in at the the #4 spot. It became a topic of discussion… “Maybe so.”

Then of course, we started to see the quality of product the Ducks were putting on the field. Yes, the Ducks won, by 2 and 3 touchdowns. (They are favored by two touchdowns this coming week against UCLA). Yes… But… now that we have seen them play two games, we are a little disappointed. While the offense is showing great promise, (the O-line is much better than expected, Shough is proving more than adequate for someone with his current experience, Moorhead is showing signs of being all that we were hoping for), the defense has been a disappointment. Where are those guys we were counting on being here? Where is the secondary?? Where are the safeties???

Since the Ducks win against WSU, people are questioning whether or the Ducks can be ready to play the highest tier teams in the country by season’s end. Once again we are reading things like, “7-0 and the Fiesta Bowl.”

So, do we want in or not?

My answer is, “Ask me later in the season.” The jury is still out on how much improvement we will see this year. My optimist outlook says that the Ducks can improve enough in the five games that remain. Can and Will are two different things.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

That is a good discussion, because if we get into the Playoff and get skewered because we are too young with too many holes in the line-up…that does further damage to the “rep” of Oregon and the Pac-12.

That is why last year I was completely happy with a Rose Bowl win versus getting beat decisively in the first round of the Playoffs. We did the best we could with the team we had.

If this 2020 team had at least Breeze and Holland….we might improve on offense enough to justify a Playoff position by season’s end.

But not now, IMHO.

Also a conundrum regarding recruiting? Great to get there. But if the Ducks is waxed?

Jon Sousa

I’m still thinking that the best case scenario is: go 7-0, miss out on the playoffs, go to the Fiesta Bowl, and pistol-whip anyone from the SEC.

Such a scenario creates a lot of controversy in the college football world, which is great for next year. There would be pressure to allow a one loss Oregon PAC12 team “in” next season.

Also, it would be great for recruiting: “Oregon is so close, I want to be a part of the team that puts them over the top!” “Come to Oregon. We are almost there.”

Last, but not least, we could be entering next season with an 11 game winning streak.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Your scenario gives me goosebumps; how sweet would it be? Play the loser of the SEC Championship (Florida, TA&M or Georgia) and everybody expects them to Pistol-Whip us, and the Ducks generate some respect!

I gotta save that dream….a nice one to go to sleep by at night.

Jon Joseph

I think the Fiesta Bowl is where a 7-0 Ducks will go. But Oregon is more likely to play BYU or a B1G team than it is an SEC team.


Jon Sousa,
I LIKE how the Ducks have responded, these first two games. For such a “young” team, they have not let us down. No massive collapse when the going gets tough. Great adjustments by the coaches, players with a lot of focus moving forward. Young team, learning and improving, in my opinion. If we see a consistent improvement, offense with less mistakes and a defense that settles down, lower scores more turnovers. I believe it helps the Conferences chances of placing a team, especially Oregon or USC, in CFP conversations. Who thought with all the experience losses, then “opt outs” and finally, new coach and system we could be competitive this season. Got to be very proud of how they are all doing it and wishing them the Best of Luck, Go Ducks!

Jon Joseph

It’s a stretch to think any 7-0 Pac-12 champ will make it to the 2020 playoff.

Trask is climbing the media and Heisman boards; his stats YTD are better than those of Burrow last season. He is the flavor of the week and he deserves to be. For a 3* recruit and back-up, he is having a great season. Dan Mullen is 1 heck of a QB developer and a play caller.

But UF still has the loss to A+M, also a 1 loss team. And IMO, the Gators will not defeat Bama in the SEC champ game. So, I see the 2nd SEC team with the best odds of making the playoff as a potential 9-1 (assuming the postponed game at TN gets played; otherwise 8-1) A+M. A+M’s 1L would be at Bama.; a Bama that at the time had a fully healthy Waddle on board.

Clemson is certainly a ‘media darling.’ But no team and conference carries more playoff committee weight than Bama and the SEC.

Assuming Notre Dame gets past the UNC aerial circus this Saturday and then suffers a competitive loss to Clemson in the ACC champ game, my guess is that both will be in the final 4 along with Bama and Ohio State? I think the Buckeyes wake up Indiana from its dream season this Saturday?

Then, you have to take into consideration, should it get by UCF, an undefeated Cincinnati and to a lesser extent, BYU. This would be the perfect year for the Playoff honchos to slide a G5 team into the final 4 and to forevermore note that a G5 team can compete for it all.

So, 7-0 Ducks? Zero top 10 wins. 1, maybe, top 25 win. Hello (if played) Fiesta Bowl. Versus, BYU/Cincy, a Wisconsin re-match or perhaps, the Hoosiers, in Glendale?


Per Tyson Alger – Ducks now 12-0 under Marion when running for 200 yards or more. 1st time under Mario Ducks has gone 200 yards back-to-back against FBS opponents.

2011 Ducks accomplished this feat 11 times in a row.

‘Everyone’ is singing the praises of Joe Moorhead.


If oregon wants to make the playoffs we have to examine the 10 schools ahead of oregon and figure out how to jump 7 of them to get 4th place.(Using AP poll

I think the easiest ones to jump will be Cincinnati(7th) and BYU(8th). Despite Oregon have a condensed schedule a winning out should allow oregon to jump both of these teams.(Even if the margin isn’t their in every game.

The big 10 has 3 football teams, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Ohio State. Indian is scheduled to play both of them. What is likely the best bet for oregon is Ohio State to go undefeated while Indiana and wisconsin beat each other up. If that happens I can see oregon jumping both Wisconsin and Indiana.

The SEC has three teams as well. Alabama(1st), Texas A&M(5th) and Florida(6th). we would need Alabama to win out, this would cause a second loss for florida, I’m assuming both these teams make it to the SEC championship. the bigger problem is Texas A&M. TA&M only has one ranked game on their schedule and that is Auburn which I expect TA&M to win. If they do win that would mean their only loss is to the undefeated SEC champion Alabama. This has happened before in which a one loss SEC team has made playoffs.

Lastly the ACC. ND(2nd) and Clemson(4th) both teams have really easy schedules in the next few weeks and will likely play each other again in the ACC championship. If this is the case Oregon would need Notre Dame to win as I think Clemson losing twice to ND would remove them from consideration.

I can see oregon jumping the two G5 teams and the 2 Big 10 teams but It’ll be hard to jump the last three teams and a lot would have to go right for them to get in. They need 21+ point Wins from here on out. They need their defense to not let up and they cant turn the ball over twice a game.

Jon Joseph

Good take. However, I’m not certain a 7-0 Ducks with 1 top 25 win, at best, moves past an undefeated AAC champ Cincinnati?

The Ducks SOS is going to be very bad. Especially, if SC does get a miracle W every Saturday? CAL has an L. Best UW can be when it trips to Autzen is 4-0; 4-0 with no big wins.

Is Oregon going to put up 50+ on all its remaining opponents? I don’t see it. And without this, I see no shot. We care about 2 TD Ws over Stanford and WSU; the rest of the country?

Cincinnati vs UCF is a bigger game this weekend than is Oregon vs UCLA and every other Pac-12 game.

If all games are played, I see a 2L Florida if not blown out by Bama and a 1L A+M, each having a much better shot than a 7-0 Oregon, the rejection of which the playoff committee can easily explain: ‘Not enough games and the 7 Ws came against bad competition.’


I can name one reason a 7-0 Oregon as a pac 12 champ gets in over both BYU and Cinci. It is money. Oregon will inevitably pull a larger number of viewers in a playoff situation than both of these teams. I agree that our SOS is bad but Clemson has proved year in and year out that you only need to be undefeated power 5 team to make the playoffs.

Now I agree that TA&M has a good shot at staying ahead of us. Their situation is very similar to 2017 Alabama football team that made the playoffs despite not making their conference championship game so to pass them Oregon would have to prove to be elite football and put up a lot of points.

I think Florida has a really good football team but they will not put them in if they lose to bama in the championship. I am 100% certain of this. reason they want to avoid at all costs for the sake ‘impartiality’ 2 loss teams. Also TA&M will be ahead of them at season’s end.


Don’t see how it’s possible for at best a 7 win team to jump over teams having played 11 games with spotless records, especially when our strength of schedule is so problematic. Cincy, BYU, a one loss Clemson, a 1 loss Notre Dame, and the dominance of 2 big 10 (why do they call it that now) + SEC powerhouses. If we can win out and get to the Fiesta Bowl, that would be a real plus.
Have to wonder why we were so handcuffed at the outset that limited us to a handful of games. Would a 9 or 10 game schedule have altered considerations…….probably.
Can’t see how it could happen without there being an 8 team playoff.
“2021 or bust”


Fine article, Ryan. Thanks.

However, I guess unless I don’t understand something (ahem…highly likely)…if Florida wins its division, the SEC championship game is still on. They likely would face Alabama. Alabama has looked the stronger team by far this season. Both of these teams have defeated mostly cupcakes-who-play-ping-pong-and-not-football…and have like kind still scheduled. The SEC, as we all know, is HIGHLY overrated year in and year out. This year is definitely not an aberration. Nine of the 14 SEC teams have losing records.

So, if this all holds true to form, Alabama stirs the pot and bakes Florida into a 2 loss team. No Natty for them.

Also, ND will likely play Clemson in the ACC title game. Who knows what final evil lurks in this even weaker conference?

I’m with the scribes. IF the Ducks go 7-0 (a big IF with COVID orders flying out from governors’ perches)…they get in the playoffs.



Can they? Maybe. Should they? No. I don’t think this year’s team is good enough to do anything other than show poorly in the playoffs. Tons of talent, but too much youth and inexperience. Next year, sure, and the years after that, too, the Ducks should be very strong if they can keep Avalos and Moorhead around. But this year, I find myself hoping they go undefeated, but don’t qualify. And, at this point, who knows if there is even going to be a playoff. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.


Both Washington and USC would need to be undefeated when we play them. Assuming we play those games. Back to back wins over those teams would at least get us in the conversation. Beyond that, everything else is out of our control.

The lyrics from The Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir come to mind…I need a miracle everyday…that pretty much sums up what will need to happen for the Ducks to get in.

Jon Joseph

That would help the cause. But at 6-0 will SC be a top 10 team? At 4-0 at best, when it comes to Eugene, where will UW be ranked?

SOS is simply not there to be in the final 4 without utter and complete chaos happening across the entirety of CFB.

I hate to say this as a competitor, but I agree with jrw, this team is not ready to play one of the big boys. Want this pass D to face Bama, Oh St, Clemson, even Notre Dame?


We have had to replace so many high quality players on our defense. The depth and experience of our defensive backs is pretty thin because of the opt outs. It is our weak point and opponents will all try to exploit that fact.

Facing tough competition is why we play the game. Can’t hide if you want to be one of the big boys. However, this year I don’t think we will be facing any of those teams.

Jon Joseph

Wholly agree you my friend.

David Marsh

I think UW would be ranked if they go 4-0 by the time they meat Oregon.

However, after what I saw on Saturday night I think WSU is the #2 team in the North behind Oregon. WSU can move the ball and score points and their defense is pretty decent. This week WSU goes up agaisnt Stanford and Stanford is currently favored to win that game but I’d put money on WSU over Stanford at this point. Stanford started to figure things out at the end of their game against Colorado but Stanford just isn’t as physical as they have been in the past.

Then in the Apple Cup I don’t think Washington has a good enough offense right now to keep up with WSU’s scoring potential. AND Washington’s defense looked terrible with the amount Oregon State was able to run right through them. WSU has a better offense that OSU and a better defense.

Then to round out the North… Cal looked supremely awful. I think Cal is the Pac-12 basement dweller this year.

Jon Joseph

At 4-0, maybe UW would be ranked. But how high? In the 4 games, what would UW’s best W be?

I agree that WSU is going to be a tough out for UW.

Good take on the Stanford game but I have no idea how good, or not, UW is after watching it stumble to a win at home over Oregon State?

CAL going down hurts. Makes a W over UCLA better but CAL was at least receiving AP votes. And if current 29 UW falls to the Cardinal?

If the game gets played. I know it will be the Utes opener and I do not know if Utah will have close to having all hands on deck but I still see this as a very tough game for SC?

The Ducks cause at 6-0 will obviously not be helped out by a conference champ game vs a 5-1 opponent.


Agree on WSU being #2 in the North, and so kudos to the Ducks D for controlling the bleeding after the turnovers, and for not allowing it to be as bad as it could have been in the first half. It looks to me that the run & shoot now, will actually make WSU even harder to beat moving forward, than was the Air Raid.

Washington didn’t show much in their win over the Beavers, Twice the Beavers looked to have got enough for a first down only to have it not be so. They didn’t push it through enough for no question to be asked, so that’s it. The Beavers passing game looked better than did Washington’s, and the Beavers have a stud at RB The game @ OSU will be interesting.

David Marsh

Style points matter and making that box score look as good as possible matters. Though the win over WSU by 14 points looks ok it doesn’t look great. I was really hoping Oregon would win by 21+ as that makes the score look dominant. However, to anyone who isn’t looking too closely at the game wouldn’t know that Oregon turned the ball over 3 times which isn’t passing the eyeball test.

Before the season started I did say that Oregon would need some help from the SEC and ACC having only one team in the playoff. Notre Dame beat Clemson which is going to cause Oregon some problems and Florida is looking better each week. So right now two ACC teams (Clemson and Notre Dame) looks possible if Clemson wins the ACC Championship against Notre Dame or I wouldn’t be surprised if the comittee tries to put Bama and Florida into the playoff regardless of who wins the SEC championship because that game is probably going to be exciting (though personally I wouldn’t want a repeat).

B1G has Ohio State locked, barring any disasters. The Big-12’s hopes rest with Oklahoma State and they still have to deal with Oklahoma which is looking much improved.

This year I think the Pac-12’s hasty scramble and poor planning will probably cost an undefeated Oregon team a shot at the playoff. However, remember how young this team is right now and how good Oregon will be next year and years to come.


Come on David, it wouldn’t be an Ohio State disaster as much as an Indiana miracle. We have to cheer on the underdog, what a story. I have Ty Fryfogle and Whop Philyor going all the way to the playoffs! As you stated, style points matter.

David Marsh

If I turn on a game that isn’t an Oregon game I am always rooting for the underdog. I usually end up disappointed as I turn on a game and look at who is the weaker team and start hoping for them to pull off an upset but it rarely happens.

My logical brain knows that Oregon needs a ranked USC team in the Conference Championship game to help boost them to potential playoff contention… but I couldn’t help but root for Arizona State and this last weekend Arizona. I always find myself root against Bama, and Clemson and Notre Dame …

But here’s hoping for an Indiana Upset!

Jon Joseph

Even when the UW Dawgs is the dog?

David Marsh

UW is the great exception….

Jon Joseph

Sigh of relief heading your way from South Carolina!


UW is always the prima donna dog, not the under dog. This makes total sense when you understand a prima donna is the female.

Jon Joseph



Your Oregon fan genetic make-up is strong. I think anyone who is a long-term Oregon fan is an underdog at heart. So maybe I do want Oregon in the playoffs, and go for the underdog!

Jon Joseph

Great take. But in my opinion a 2L Florida will not get in over a 1L A+M that UF lost to in College Station.

Spot on regarding both Clemson and Notre Dame looking good for the final 4. (If 2 “ACC teams” make it in, the rest of CFB must insist the ND stay in the ACC. No more 12 game independent BS.)

I don’t see how the ‘politics’ will allow the committee to put a 2L P5 team in over an 11-0 AAC conference champ Cincinnati? Ditto a 7-0 Pac-12 champ with a SOS not better than, if as good as, Cincy’s SOS. I don’t think Hancock + company would want to face the political heat they would face if a G5 team was arguably hosed over.


Agree, they don’t look like a playoff team so far. A playoff team doesn’t make 5 turnovers in 2 games. A playoff team does recover from mistakes, and get better as the season progresses, so who knows.

A playoff team also seldom loses late in the season so if the Ducks win out, there is a chance. All they can do is take care of what is in front of them, and build towards the future. The future is bright, it just might not include the playoff this season.

I will add that if the Ducks don’t make the playoffs, the season can still be a success. This is a young team and it isn’t like this is the only season where they will have a chance. I do hope fans don’t judge the season based on making or not making the playoffs.

Comparing this season to 2001 where we should have been in the hunt for the national title isn’t fair either. That season was a peak for the program and we needed to get into the big game. The next season there was a drop-off. This season is a building year for the Ducks, not the peak, at all!

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

I completely agree; my expectations and goals for this year have changed with the realization of the amount of building and rebuilding on the team. I would like to think that once we are Playoff-worthy, our recruiting will keep us in the conversation most years.

But we are not there yet, and thus I am going to work at enjoying the journey and watching the growth.

A conference championship with the youngest P5 team and if played, a NY6 Bowl appearance, would be great!

2021, Oregon will have an experienced QB. O line, OC and young guys on D who are currently learning on the job.

In 2021, the Ducks roster will be SP+ championship quality; 50% plus of the roster will be 4 and 5* recruits.


I have learned so much about football and our Ducks from reading FishDuck, I can’t thank you all enough.

This season is obviously a weird and wacky one, for all the obvious reasons. One thing I’ve noticed is that teams
playing only conference games are clearly not looking as “formidable” as usual. And I get there are lot’s of new
coaches and systems, but who would have picked the BIG to look so bad?! And for Indiana to be challenging tOSU?!
Colorado in position to compete for Pac 12 South?!

All in all, as I look across the national football scene, there seems to be many faces in unexpected and even unusual
positions. To me, that makes a case for an * to be placed by the name of any National Champion. Many teams lost
players, couldn’t play certain opponents, lots of “stuff”. So a built in excuse for whiners crying woulda, coulda shouda!

That being said, I would always be thrilled to see the Ducks in the hunt.

I’m thinking because of this wackiness, a very difficult start to the season, and all the known new aspects of the Ducks
this year, maybe our team is actually doing very well. Perhaps we are learning and developing right on cue (ok, maybe a
little slow in the D). But we are a young team, and new QB’s are always going to struggle in the Pac.

If you take away the to’s from the WSU game, and concentrate on the improved D in the 2nd half, that is a totally different
outcome of a game.

I am so excited about offensive play calling, and growth for Shough as we can play games, and the D will get there, we
know that! I think we will begin to see this growth in every game, and by the time we get to the P12 champ. the “eye test”
will be there.

In the meantime, I’m watching and enjoying every game, with a sweet satisfaction that when we roll into Columbus next
year, we will be READY!!

And barring Devine intervention, I’ll be there!

Jon Joseph

Great points all.


The PAC 12 is not very good. The only chance we’ve got is by blowing everyone out. The defense does not look good at this point, so we have to get much stingier down the stretch. Avalos is off to a rough start. JoMo had more unknowns to deal with and is doing a great job.

Jon Joseph

“Not very good” You Sir, are being more than cordial.


So far at least, I don’t think the Ducks can pass the eye test for the playoffs. From what I’ve seen Bama, tOSU, Clemson, ND, and possibly FL and TA&M are stronger candidates. And with a truncated PAC 12 season, the Ducks are operating with almost no margin of being victimized by COVID cancellations, even if they go undefeated—which I believe they will.

Jon Joseph

And Cincinnati and BYU are also very much in the mix.


Jerry Palm & 247 have the 7-0 Ducks in the Playoffs, 247 has them in, replacing Clemson, along with Alabama, Ohio State & Notre Dame. If Jerry P and 247 were in charge, the Ducks would be in. However, it’s not up to them. The Committee fills out the Dance Card, and the big, shiny SEC is easy to go with.

Jon Joseph

So, Clemson takes 2Ls versus Notre Dame? ND takes the ACC champ game with even with Lawrence healthy and all Clemson D guys on deck? It took 2 OTs for ND to defeat a depleted Clemson squad in SOUTH BEND.

If Clemson wins a competitive champ game, I see a very real chance of ND and Clemson both getting in?

The Ducks at 7-0 will not get in over a 1L A+M or in the unlikely event Florida wins the SEC champ game in less than blow out fashion, a 1L Alabama. Beating up unranked conference opponents does not move the national meter. I feel like Palm is doing this simply to be arbitrary?

The Playoff predictor gives a 7-0 Ducks a very small chance of making the playoff.

If Cincinnati is an undefeated AAC champion, I don’t see 7-0 Oregon getting the nod over Cincinnati. The Pac-12 had no juice with the Committee when Mullens was the chair; the chair is now the Iowa AD.


Florida has 3 cupcakes ahead facing the Razorbacks, Vandy and the Vols. Its other two games are home games against Kentucky and LSU. The Gators should win both. Anything can happen in a long season, but I expect to see UF in the playoff.

Go Ducks!


One aspect you are forgetting is that florida would play in the SEC championship in this situation. Say florida plays alabama in the SEC championship and losses does florida still make the championship? I’d find it very hard for them to let florida in the playoffs in this situation.

Jon Joseph

Unless all heck breaks loose, no 2L team is getting in this season.

UF lost to A+M. A+M’s 1 loss came at Bama. Don’t see how UF can take the L versus Bama at a neutral site and get in over a 1L A+M?

UF is the media darling of the week. It’s run game is suspect and its D is average, at best.

I think Bama will, if such a SEC title game is played, defeat this UF team by 2 TDs at least. Trask will not be able to stand back in the pocket versus Bama for ever and a day while he surveys the field.

Bama is not Arkansas or an UGA down to its 3rd/4th string QB and missing 5 starters on D. And the game will not be played in The Swamp but in Bama’s home away from home Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

Jon Joseph

Brent, do you think UF will defeat Bama in Atlanta? I don’t. Bama has a far better run game and is at least UF’s equal in the passing game. And IMO, has a better defense than a Gators D that just surrendered 30+ points to Arkansas. I don’t see how a 2L UF trumps a 1L A+M that it lost to?

BTW, did you see that Muschamp is finished at South Carolina? It’s serious down south as evidenced by Muschamp being paid $13.2M to go away while the South Carolina athletic department tightens its belt.