The Oregon Ducks are at the mercy of the BCS polls, and right now it's not looking pretty for them.
The Ducks were counting on USC and Oregon State to boost their somewhat soft-looking strength of schedule, and unfortunately for Oregon, both of those teams lost.
Oregon State marched into Seattle with its No. 7 ranking and lost to the Washington Huskies, 20-17. Earlier in the day, No. 9 USC ventured into Tucson and lost to Arizona, 39-36.
Meanwhile, two of the three ranked teams left on Oregon's schedule lost (No. 17 Stanford had an unimpressive 24-17 win over the 2-6 Washington State Cougars). The Ducks' schedule now looks like the window display at your local bakery.
The BCS bots will go haywire after this turn of events because they don't use margin of victory as part of their ranking system. They should, darn it, but they don't.
That's a shame, because Oregon has destroyed every team in its path.
Oregon passes the eyeball test, as it looks unbeatable. Unfortunately, every team the Ducks have played or will play is beatable. But before we shed tears over their current situation, maybe we should point a finger at the school's scheduling.
Is Arkansas State, Fresno State and Tennessee Tech really a championship non-conference schedule?
Alabama scheduled Michigan at Arlington, Texas. Florida plays at Florida State. Kansas State played Miami. Is one BCS team too much to ask for a team that wants more respect from pollsters, even though it probably deserves more respect?
When you have proven that you are the real deal by beating top-quality opponents, you can get away with a mediocre non-conference schedule. But when your past includes back-to-back losses against Boise State and a 2-2 BCS bowl record, you really need to do more to impress.
Yes, the Ducks are three-peat Pac-12 champs. They are also 1-1 in BCS Rose Bowl appearances against the Big Ten. The SEC isn't impressed.
Next year, the Ducks play Tennessee. That'll help. But not this year.
Kansas State will probably stay ahead of Oregon despite the undeniable shock and awe of the Ducks offense. Despite the team's blinding speed, incredible running game and brilliant play-calling of head coach Chip Kelly, Oregon has the flashy offense. Kansas State does not.
Oregon has the flashy facilities. I have no idea what Kansas State's facilities look like, but I'm pretty sure they don't have a Quack Cave.
Oregon has the flashy unis. Kansas State is purple.
What Oregon lacks is a flashy schedule. Kansas State's schedule has beef. Corn-fed beef. It'll sharpen your teeth.
Oregon's schedule is like a turducken. It looks pretty fancy, but not many people would trade their New York strip for it.
It's unfortunate for Oregon because it looks like a world beater. We want to see Oregon vs. Alabama. But Oregon, prior to this Saturday, was dependent on Oregon State and USC to bolster its schedule. Dependent on a 2011 3-9 team. Dependent on a Trojan squad that is restricted to 75 players on scholarship.
Both teams let Oregon down. And the Pac-12, to be honest.
The irony in all of this is that Kansas State canceled its game with Oregon this year. The Wildcats appear to have benefited from this cancellation, because they'll likely jump to No. 2 tomorrow while the Ducks will probably stay at No. 4 behind Alabama, Kansas State and Notre Dame.
Oregon had two years to reschedule its 2012 slate, but now is left to wonder if it should have been more aggressive with its replacement.
We'll find out in a little over five weeks.