- The Oregon Ducks (8-1, 6-0 Pac-12) beat the USC Trojans (5-4, 4-2 Pac-12) 56-24 Saturday night in Los Angeles in a statement win
- Oregon’s National Championship odds improved from +8333 on Nov. 1 to +1600 following the victory
- Read below to see if Oregon is worthy of a wager for the National Championship
So much for a late-season road test. After surviving a 37-35 thriller in Eugene last week against Washington State (a program Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback Justin Herbert had yet to beat), the Oregon Ducks bounced back from a slow start in the Southland to throttle the USC Trojans 56-24 and remain very much in the 2020 National Championship odds discussion.
2020 CFP National Championship Odds
*Odds taken Nov. 3
All Three Facets
As Schwartz, a former UO offensive lineman pointed out on, the Ducks did it all at the Coliseum Saturday night. Herbert continued a stellar senior season, going 21-of-26 for 225 yards and three touchdown passes, all to senior wide receiver Juwan Johnson, a Penn State transfer.
Oregon was down 10-0 and looked completely out of whack. They went on a 56-7 run after that! In 3 quarters! Scored on offense, defense and special teams. @coach_cristobal has a mentally tough team. They never get down, always look ahead. Defense was fantastic tonight.
— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) November 3, 2019
The Oregon defense, which entered the contest ranked ninth in the nation allowing 14.80 points per game, was outstanding. The outfit forced four Southern California turnovers and converted each into a touchdown, including a second quarter pick-six by Brady Breeze.
And special teams even got into the scoring mix as Mykael Wright returned a kickoff for a touchdown. Complete efforts like the one Saturday night, away from home and against a program that already beat fellow Pac-12 title contender Utah, no doubt had the attention of the College Football Playoff committee.
But Was It Good Enough?
With the blowout victory, Oregon put itself squarely in the discussion to be in the CFP’s first rankings when they’re released Tuesday evening. Four of the top five teams were off Week 10, while Clemson had a virtual bye, walloping Wofford 59-14.
2. Ohio State
6. Penn State
— Danny Kanell (@dannykanell) November 3, 2019
The Ducks have ripped off eight straight wins since that heartbreaking 27-21 loss to Auburn in the season opener, that saw Oregon blow a 21-6 late third quarter lead. Needless to say, the team has bounced back in a major way. And while Stanford, Washington, and USC aren’t the same programs they’ve been over the last decade, undefeated in the Pac-12 — a Power 5 conference that has historically cannibalized itself like no other — is still undefeated in the Pac-12.
Will They Be There In the End?
Kanell thinks the Ducks did enough Saturday night to crack the initial Top 4. And as we’ve seen through the first five years of the College Football Playoff, it doesn’t matter what your seed is. Just get in. In fact, a No. 1 seed has yet to win, while two No. 4s (including an Ohio State squad that beat Oregon in the CFP’s debut season) have won it all.
Oregon and Utah both figure to be at least a TD favorite in each of the last 3 games possibly setting up an 11-1 Utah vs an 11-1 Oregon for the Pac 12 title game with the winner having a decent chance of making the playoff.
— Phil Steele (@philsteele042) November 3, 2019
Longtime college football analyst Phil Steele is exactly right, if Oregon can avoid the upset bug against the Arizona schools and Oregon State in the Civil War over the next three weeks, Mario Cristobal’s unit will be in position to make a return trip to the CFP.
With Oklahoma’s stunning defeat to Kansas State and Notre Dame’s blowout loss to Michigan in Week 9, along with Appalachian State and SMU going down in Week 10, it seems unlikely for a Big 12 team, the Irish or Group of Five program to crash the College Football Playoff party.
This feels like an ACC, Big Ten, SEC, and Pac-12 year. And with plenty of tough tests ahead for LSU, Alabama, Ohio State, and Penn State, the winner of the Pac-12 title game looks like a great bet to be in the CFP. Feel free to put money on both Oregon AND Utah at this point, but I’m rolling with the program that just rolled the Trojans.