Boasting an impressive 8-1 record this year, the Oregon Ducks have dominated the Pac-12 Conference. Now that the first batch of College Football Playoff rankings have been released, there’s also the glimmer of hope that they could be among the four teams competing for the National Championship Trophy.
That said, even if the Ducks win their remaining three games of the season and top that off with victory in the 2019 Pac-12 Football Championship Game, whether they also feature in the College Football Playoff championship is another matter entirely; and one that’s completely beyond their own control at this moment in time.
As the only NCAA sport without a yearly sanctioned championship event, such as the Super Bowl in the NFL, deciding which team are college football champions has always been fraught with controversy. Even though the NCAA still doesn’t recognize the post-season College Football Playoff system, it does at least provide fans and teams with some closure each season, and where it matters most of all – on the field of play.
Nevertheless, the participants in the College Football Playoff are still selected and seeded by a 13-member committee, which is where the controversy and difficulty ranking teams and conferences comes into play. As ESPN recently highlighted regarding the Oregon Ducks, currently ranked sixth, should they finish the season as one-loss Pac-12 champions, would they be considered better than other teams from the Big 12, SEC or Big Ten, who are currently ranked higher in their calculations?
This is certainly something that will have the committee scratching their heads, should there be several one-loss teams at the final reckoning, once every game in each conference has been played. Calculations for the final four teams who make the College Football Playoff could well come down to details such as individual results against other rivals, weighting some results more favorably than others, along with considerations regarding the respective strength of conferences.
As things stand, the Oregon Ducks are +3300 according to the latest American football odds, tipped as genuine outside contenders to win the College Football Playoff National Championship Trophy. Certainly, getting there would be a monumental achievement for head coach Mario Cristobal and the team, only rivalled by the inaugural 2014 College Football Playoff side that was seeded second that year and coached by Mark Helfrich.
The Ducks are fully expected to win their upcoming games against the Arizona Wildcats and the Arizona State Sun Devils. Of course, there’s also the Pac-12 encounter with the Oregon State Beavers at the end of November, where victory would cap an excellent conference season for the team.
From there, the Ducks will be reliant on results from teams in other conferences and the decision of the committee, if they’re to land the fourth playoff spot. Along with being a great chance to win a national championship for the first time in the University of Oregon’s history, it’s an opportunity this team richly deserves.