De’Anthony Thomas (Crenshaw High School) and the No. 2 Oregon Ducks are coming to town to play No. 18 USC. But a victory may not help them move up on the BCS standings over Alabama, Kansas State, and Notre Dame. Photo by Don Ryan/AP
Notre Dame is legit, and Oregon is in big trouble.
As Oregon continues to blowout every opponent on their schedule, they continue to watch other undefeated teams leapfrog over them. They have been the No. 2 team in both the AP and Coach’s polls for weeks, but in each of the first three BCS polls, they have watched teams pass them up, even though they have not had a close game yet.
In the first BCS poll, Oregon was No. 3, as Florida was given the No. 2 spot, behind No. 1 Alabama. A week later Kansas State took the No. 3 spot, dropping Oregon down to No. 4, even though they were still ranked No. 2 in the AP and Coach’s poll.
In the current BCS poll, Florida dropped after a loss. Kansas State moved up to the No. 2 spot, but Oregon did not move up. Notre Dame moved to the No. 3 spot with their 30-13 win over No. 8 Oklahoma.
The issue with Oregon is that they do not have any meaningful victories. They defeated Washington, who was No. 23 at the time, and Arizona, who was No. 22 at the time, but that is about it.
Notre Dame has two wins over top 10 teams. Both of those wins were by 17 points each, and both were on the road. That looks much better than blowout victories against sub par teams.
Kansas State has a win over a top 10 team and two wins over top 15 teams.
The schedule looked like it would eventually favor Oregon if they won out, as USC, Stanford, and Oregon State are all coming up. But USC did not do Oregon any favors by dropping out of the top 10 with a loss at Arizona. USC is now ranked No. 18 in the AP poll. Oregon State also dropped out of the top 10 this past week when they lost to Washington. They are now ranked No. 13.
Oregon could go through the season blowing out everybody on their schedule, but not have a single victory over a top 10 team. Stanford and Oregon State play each other in two weeks, so one of those teams will be out of the top 15 when Oregon plays them.
The strength of schedule is working heavily against Oregon now. If Alabama, Kansas State, and Notre Dame all finish undefeated, Oregon can forget it. If just two of those teams run the table, Oregon will find themselves on the outside looking in.
Chances are that there are some conference presidents sitting in some back room who are ready to put Notre Dame in if they are undefeated, no matter what the computers say. Alabama and Kansas State will have the quality wins. So Oregon, even though they dominated everybody they played, will need some serious help to make it to the BCS title game.
Heisman Trophy race is now wide open
West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith had the Heisman Trophy on lock a couple weeks ago, until his team was exposed for not having any defense and the inability to run the ball.
When Smith was putting up video game numbers, West Virginia was winning games, even with their defense giving up a boatload of points. In their last two games, Smith was not bad at all, he just was not a super hero on the field. So they were blown out when their defense could not pick up the slack.
It was obvious that West Virginia was not going to be able to stay in the race for the BCS title game, but Smith looked like he would put up the numbers to walk away with the trophy. Now Kansas State quarterback Colin Klein, Notre Dame linebacker Manit Te’o, Oregon running back Kenjon Barner, Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, and Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller all look like they have moved ahead of Smith.