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Will the Oregon Ducks Face Michigan in the Rose Bowl?

Alex Heining Editorials

Bryan Fischer of Fox Sports posted his bowl projections this week, as Washington notably doesn’t crack the College Football Playoff, and our Oregon Ducks football program catapults into a matchup with Michigan in the Rose Bowl.

Now, ahead of our rivalry game this Friday against the Oregon State Beavers, these predictions may feel a bit erroneous. Still, it’s a fun exercise to go through as fans and consider the “what ifs” of the rest of the year.

While I would love to see the Ducks dominate this game (should they reach it, of course), the Wolverines are a tough out. Star coach Jim Harbaugh may be back on the sidelines, and there’s no telling how they’re going to look after assumedly knocking off Ohio State this week and taking down Iowa in their conference championship. It’s time to look internally and really consider how the Ducks are going to get to the Rose Bowl, and how they would look today in a vacuum against a top opponent in the country.

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Oregon’s offense has looked unbeatable in the past month – Photo From Vasco Dixon

How Would Oregon Fair Today?

If we swapped Oregon State for Michigan this Friday in Autzen, I honestly don’t know how much of a difference it would make. Our Ducks are playing their best football of the past decade, maybe ever. You can say that Harbaugh would be the x-factor and that the Wolverines would be at a major disadvantage without him, but even with him, the Ducks’ dominance might be too much to overcome in a game where it never rains.

Having said that, Michigan only allowed 17 points in the month of October leading up to Harbaugh’s suspension. Playing at their place in The Big House would be an entirely different story as well, and a neutral site might be an ever closer 50-50 call.

For today, we’ll assume that Michigan plays out the rest of the year as they did in the weeks prior to Harbaugh’s suspension. However, that still leaves the question of what’s been going on with J.J. McCarthy and the Wolverine offense.

J.J. McCarthy’s Recent Struggles

McCarthy hasn’t been at his best the past few weeks, and it really does not bode well entering their most important game of the season. Granted, Ohio State has only risen to a +3.5-point underdog on the road, so there’s still some faith in this team being able to hold off the red-hot Buckeyes on their home field. But with 3 points virtually being a given for a home game, this is as much of a pick ’em game as you could ask for as a bettor. McCarthy’s going to have to rally the troops and come out swinging in what we presume to be a shootout, edging a close victory over their sworn rivals.

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Oregon’s been crushing it on both sides of the ball. Photo From Vasco Dixon

Bottom Line: Wolverines are a Likely Opponent, and a Beatable One

Of the three projected opponents in Texas, Michigan, and Georgia, the Wolverines might be the Ducks’ best shot at the championship game. As we look ahead to the weekend, Michigan has to win their toughest matchup of the year, so if there was a game to change up the College Football Playoff outlook most, it’s this one.

As for Our Beloved Ducks, Oregon’s still tasked with beating the Beavs this week anyway, and that’s the game we should all be focused on. Let’s see our Ducks lock in another outstanding win at home, punch their ticket to the PAC-12 Championship, and earn a spot in championship contention.

Anyway, enough from me, Oregon fans. How do you think Michigan would fair against our Ducks in the College Football Playoff? How would they fair if they played this Friday? Is Michigan more likely to make it to the Playoff without Harbaugh, or are the Ducks more likely to make it past Oregon State and Washington? Let us know in the FishDuck Forum with decorum.

Go Ducks!

Alex Heining
Los Angeles, California
Top Photo By: Vasco Dixon

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