Poll Position: Week 4

By REED NELSON

At around 8:21 p.m. PST, well after Oregon’s 63-14 trouncing of poor Tennessee Tech, the Duck-faithful — in collusion with defenders of the good and righteous everywhere — let out a collective cry of exultation as Matt Barkley hit the turf for the final time in #21 Stanford’s 21-14 upset win over #2 USC.

Our cry’s might have been premature, however. They were a product of the moment, sure and begat from Matt Barkley’s despondent facial expression, undoubtedly. And yes! The Ducks are in the Top 3!

For the short term, this paints a very Natty-rific picture for the Ducks, but it could present a problem of the S.O.S. variety.

No, not an arcane distress signal, but a stressful acronym all the same. By scheduling ITT Tech, Stevens Henegar and the University of Phoenix for the first three weeks of 2012, Oregon is only half in charge of their destiny. While they need to win out (their share), because of piss-poor Strength of Schedule, they need some help from other Pac-12 school’s in the weeks ahead. A win over a #2 USC was supposed to be their dangling meal ticket, a BCS crucible to cap off a fabulous Nov. 31 and set the rematch stage for the most dramatic Conference Championship game in years. Now it’s destined to play second fiddle to the LSU-Alabama game.

The only consolation? Stanford managed to jump 11 spots and slide into the top ten (#9), which knocks the Pac-12 out of rarefied “Two of the top 5 teams in the country are in our conference” air, but at least keeps them competitive with the SEC and the Big 12 if we’re comparing Top 25 participation.

Oregon’s jump to #3 is comforting, but they’ll have trouble moving any higher until Nov. 3, and they would have had the same issue even if USC had pulled it off on Saturday.

Elsewhere, UCLA has climbed three spots to #19, Arizona jumped two, to #22 and Oregon State, even after just one game, is knocking on the door.

Climbing: UCLA (#22/23 to #19), Arizona (#24/25 to #21/22), Stanford (#21/16 to #9/11) Oregon State (NR to 26th-ish).

Falling: USC (#2 to #12/13), Arizona State (No Top 25 votes this week).

Footnotes

  • A day that I have previously called the “greatest day in college football. Ever.” I accept responsibility for the jinx, but fuck it. It should have been. The Director of Awesomeness (not a real job) within the scheduling arm of the NCAA had Oregon going head-to-head with USC, in a game that was going head-to-head against LSU-Alabama in a Saturday Primetime slot that fires up more salivary glands than a can of Skoal. Jump


Categories: Features, News & Notes, Poll Position, Previews

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