After the No. 8 Oregon Ducks‘ 49-10 victory over the Colorado Buffaloes on Saturday at Folsom Field, the conversation amongst talking heads and fans inevitably veers toward the College Football Playoff. What are Oregon’s chances of making it to the four-team playoff this year? The biggest rock in the Ducks’ shoe remains their only loss to No. 3 Georgia in Atlanta (basically a home game for the reigning national champions).
The Ducks got blown out in Dan Lanning’s coaching debut at Oregon. But as we all know, a football season is a marathon, not a sprint. And most would agree the Ducks (8-1, 6-0) are a very different football team when compared to Week 1. The Ducks haven’t lost a game since (eight-straight wins), and Oregon quarterback Bo Nix has delivered Heisman-caliber performances each and every week.
Oregon’s final three regular-season games against Washington, No. 12 Utah and No. 24 Oregon State (two ranked teams) will be its toughest stretch of games this year. If the Ducks win out and hoist the Pac-12 Championship trophy, I can’t think of another team more worthy of a chance to play for a national title. It’s time for pundits, critics and CFP committee members to get over the Georgia loss, or at the very least, stop letting it overshadow Oregon’s accomplishments and current trajectory.
Here’s some reasons why the Ducks deserve a shot at the College Football Playoff if they continue to take care of business:
- The Ducks scored at least 40 points for the eighth straight game following their victory over the Buffs, making it the longest streak in the country this season (Source: UO Athletics)
- Nix went 20-of-24 passing for 274 yards against Colorado, accounting for five touchdowns, including two passing, two rushing and one receiving after catching a touchdown pass from running back Bucky Irving. On the season, Nix has a 72.3% completion rate, 20 passing touchdowns (Tied-17th) and 13 rushing touchdowns, second in program history only to Atlanta Falcons’ QB Marcus Mariota‘s 15 rushing TDs during his Heisman Trophy-winning season with the Ducks in 2014 (Source: UO Athletics, ESPN)
- Oregon hasn’t allowed a sack for the eighth time in nine games, leading the nation in the statistic.
- The Ducks are third in the country in total offense behind Tennessee (1) and Georgia (2), averaging 520 yards of total offense per game. After Saturday’s win over Colorado, the Ducks have amassed 4,685 total yards and 52 touchdowns this year. Oregon is also third in the country in total first downs (227) and ranks 11th in team passing efficiency (20 touchdowns, 192-of-269 passing) and 15th nationally in rushing defense, allowing an average of 106 rushing yards per game. (Source: NCAA, stats through Nov. 4 and do not include Colorado game)
- According to Sports Illustrated, the Ducks are the “first FBS team to have a receiving TD from an O-lineman, a receiving score from a QB and a rushing TD by a defensive player (Oregon LB Noah Sewell) in the same game since at least 1996.”
- The Ducks are the only remaining unbeaten team in Pac-12 Conference play.
…The third-ranked Bulldogs just toppled No. 1 Tennessee 27-13, likely putting them squarely in the nation’s top spot when this week’s rankings come out. Georgia’s success can only help the Ducks, right?
…Oregon’s early non-conference win over then-No. 12 BYU has lost some of its juice after the Cougars have since fallen to 5-5, tumbling out of the Top 25.
…Next week, the No. 8 Oregon Ducks host the Washington Huskies. The first hurdle of the most critical part of the season officially begins for the Ducks.
Jordan is a lifelong Duck fan currently living in San Diego. Jordan graduated from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, after serving a prestigious fellowship with the Washington State House of Representatives. Upon graduation, he worked as an English language teaching assistant for the Spanish Ministry of Education’s Ambassadorial Program in Monforte de Lemos, Spain. Jordan has worked as a journalist, writer, and editor in Oregon, Washington, Montana, and California, covering a wide range of topics, including sports, local politics, and crime. He is VERY excited to be writing about his beloved Oregon Ducks.
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