Normally, when a team is chasing another, and the team that is ahead loses, the team that was chasing them gets to move up in the polls. Except, apparently, if you are the Oregon Ducks.
The Ducks were trying to make up ground in the BCS race and catch the No. 2 Florida Gators this weekend to get into the BCS National Championship. They also had some ground to make up on the Kansas State Wildcats, who sat at No. 3 after jumping Oregon in the second BCS rankings.
After this weekend, where the Gators fell to the Georgia Bulldogs and the Ducks obliterated the Colorado Buffaloes, Oregon was hoping to move up at least one spot back to No. 3, where they were in the original BCS rankings. However, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish had something to say about that.
Following ND’s impressive 30-13 win over the Oklahoma Sooners in Norman, the Irish move up from No. 5 last week to No. 3 this week, jumping the Ducks and edging them by a .001 margin. Kansas State moved up into the No. 2 spot and are now in position to play the Alabama Crimson Tide in the BCS title game.
Oregon continues to get passed over despite being ranked second in both polls used in the BCS calculations, as well as the AP poll, because of their less-than-impressive computer rankings. The Ducks rank fifth in the computers, which make up one-third of the standings. That causes them to fall behind K-State and Notre Dame, who are tied for No. 1 in the computer rankings (as Florida was last week).
But the last month of the season could help Oregon gain ground on the unbeaten teams ahead of them and possibly even overtake some of them in the BCS standings. In the last four games of the season, Oregon plays three opponents in the BCS Top 25 (USC Trojans, Stanford Cardinal, Oregon State Beavers). If they are able to win out and make the Pac 12 Championship, they would likely get another opportunity against a quality opponent (USC currently leads the South by half a game).
Meanwhile, Notre Dame has just one opponent in their last four games with a winning record (USC) and Kansas State has two games against BCS Top 25 teams left on their schedule when they take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys on Saturday and the Texas Longhorns December 1.
Three quality opponents, with a strong likelihood for a fourth, gives Oregon a very good shot to make up ground and climb back into the BCS title picture. They trail Notre Dame by just .001 in the latest BCS rankings and have just .027 to make up on Kansas State, which is in no way insurmountable.
A backloaded schedule, with the added bonus of a conference championship game (which K-State and ND won’t have), leave the door wide open for Chip Kelly and the Ducks to book a trip to Sun Life Stadium on January 7. Now they just have to run through it.