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By Scott Haynes, FBS Senior Editor - Archive - Email
Not time to panic in Eugene just yet
The lack of competition is the main culprit for the Ducks not the BCS.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Perhaps it is just me mellowing as I get older, but while the BCS rankings continue to discredit the Oregon Ducks, I've decided to reserve judgment until the season comes to a close.

Piling on with all the critics of the clearly flawed system used to be fun, but it just seems played out at this point and with a postseason playoff just two seasons away, the criticisms may be falling on deaf ears.

The Oregon Ducks are ranked second in the nation and have completely dominated the competition this season, winning by an average of 30.9 points per game. They may actually be the most-talented offensive team in the country, one capable of putting up big numbers on anyone. However, despite the eye-popping production and lopsided wins, the Ducks opened the BCS rankings at No. 3 and have since fallen to No. 4.

It's a lack of competition that is the main culprit here, not the BCS. Oregon has failed to register a marquee win on the season, with its best being last week's 43-21 victory at Arizona State.

The argument here from the Oregon faithful is that Alabama has followed a similar path yet sits atop the standings.

Certainly a legitimate argument, but there are a couple of reasons for Alabama's lofty status which hold equal merit.

For one, the Crimson Tide are the defending national champions. They also have completely dominated the competition this season. Finally, they are doing so in the SEC.

Is there an SEC bias when it comes to the polls? Probably. That doesn't mean it isn't justified. It happens to be the toughest conference in the FBS, winning each of the last six national championships.

With that in mind, Florida sitting at No. 2 in the BCS standings has gone by without much of an argument.

The Gators have surprised more than a few pundits with their 7-0 start this season. Unlike Alabama and Oregon, Florida possesses a few marquee wins this year, topping Texas A&M, LSU and South Carolina already. Staying at No. 2 won't be easy, though, with this weekend's annual clash with Georgia, a regular- season finale at Florida State and a probable matchup with Alabama in the SEC Championship left on the docket.

These things have a way of working themselves out and if the Gators finish up with a perfect record, they will have undoubtedly earned a spot in the national title game in Miami.

Despite Oregon's eruption at Arizona State last week, the team fell another rung on the BCS ladder, as Kansas State's big win at West Virginia helped the Wildcats leapfrog the Ducks.

Again, KSU's ranking is justified based on its schedule to this point, as it has already put the work in, with huge road wins at both Oklahoma and West Virginia. There are a couple of tough opponents left on the docket, most notably this week's clash with Texas Tech, but a continued climb up the BCS rankings isn't likely, regardless of what Kansas State accomplishes, as its toughest games are already behind it.

The funny thing is that this may not be the end of Oregon's downward spiral. This week's matchup between Notre Dame and Oklahoma is certainly worth checking out. It wouldn't be surprising if a Notre Dame victory in Norman propelled the fifth-ranked Irish past the Ducks as well come Sunday.

The Eugene denizen just have to bide their time and remain patient. Oregon hasn't played top-notch competition to date, but that will certainly change as the season heads into November. The Ducks will open the month at USC, play Stanford at home and then travel to rival Oregon State to close out the regular season.

Wins in all three of those game should be enough to put the team in a position to play for the national title, but if it isn't enough, the Ducks also will get the best the South Division has to offer in the Pac-12 Championship Game. A second showdown with the Trojans is likely and another win will certainly put the Ducks over the top.

"All things come round to him who will but wait."

Longfellow wasn't referring to the plight of the Oregon Ducks, but the fan base can take some solace in the words he scribed more than a century and a half ago.


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