By REED NELSON
Welcome to the End of World, ladies and gentleman.
The Week 12 BCS Standings have been released, and… wait for it… there are zero SEC teams in the Top 3. In their stead, we find Kansas State, Oregon and Notre Dame. Or, to put it in SEC terms, we find that Other Purple team from the Other Manhattan, those dirty longhairs and the Legend of Lou Holtz in the Top 3.
But the beauty of this season is this: At this very moment in time (just after noon on a Monday afternoon in rainy Eugene, OR), not a single SEC team deserves to be in the discussion. Oregon now hits higher on the “Deserved Credit-Actual Credit” graph than any other team in the country. They have the recent BCS pedigree (the Ducks haven’t missed a BCS game since ’08), the most exciting offense and an unblemished record; three things that no SEC team can say1.
The last time that an SEC team was left out of the Top 3 in the BCS Standings was the opening set in 2010. Undefeated Auburn was fourth, behind Oklahoma, Oregon and Boise State. The next week, Oklahoma fell on the road to Missouri, Auburn knocked off LSU and the rest was incredibly muddled history.
And since Oct. 17, 2010, the SEC has owned the Top 3, often grabbing two of the three top spots. The conference’s respective powerhouses have stuck to their guns and delivered spectacular results (three straight national championships, productive NFL talent, incredible rivalry games), but not without a cost.
For however effective LSU’s defense has been in the last decade, their offense still lacks. But it doesn’t lack nearly as much as the judgement of said players lacks. Since last season, LSU has lost their troubled QB, Jordan Jefferson — who was accused of just about any heinous activity one could conjure, save a planned attack on our nations capital — and star CB Tyron Mathieu, whose love for marijuana is rivaled only by his love for hair dye.
Alabama is a team so entrenched in tradition that they still communicate with their coaches via Morse Code. Nick Saban learned about the forward pass three years ago and is still trying to figure out how to implement it into his offense, while simultaneously (and preemptively) fingering teams who have figured out how to speed things as heathens destined to trash the sanctity of the game. Sure, when it comes to national supremacy ‘Bama is going nowhere, but this week we learned that they might need to do something if they want to go somewhere.
And Auburn. Auburn, whose rise to prominence hinged upon a few very key recruits acquired under some very suspect circumstances, has hit a wall constructed of fortified steel, bad blood and tears. Since Newton decided to declare for the draft a year early, amid the swirling speculation that his Auburn courtship was anything but innocent, the Tigers/War Eagle have been a fragmented, warring negative headline. They have had no less than four players arrested on violent charges, including armed robbery. They lost star RB Michael Dyer to expulsion after it was found that one of his guns (yes, he had guns) was used in the armed robbery. Their morale was then dealt a final blow in June, when three Auburn football players (one current, one injured and one former) were shot at a pool party, tragically leaving two of those men dead.
Now Gene Chizik is on the hot seat, Nick Saban is openly questioning the way that football is being played, and Les Miles is still digging at his ear. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
And now Oregon, itty-bitty Oregon with the rabid fans and the shitty weather, is the preemptive favorite in the race for the ultimate BCS title. The humans have them ranked No. 1 in both the Harris and the AP Polls. The computers have them fourth, but Oregon also hits a stretch of their schedule that the computers will salivate over.
Overall, the Ducks find themselves ranked second, a mere .0177 points behind Kansas State.
Kansas State, who owns the top spot according to the computers, simply needs to win out to get a bid, or at least so says conventional wisdom. We know the BCS is anything but conventional, but I’ll leave the Midwest out of this.
The best news for the Ducks is this: No. 14 Stanford beat No. 11 Oregon State, but OSU only dropped to No. 16. With the addition of Washington to the pool at No. 25, the Pac-12 is now tied with the SEC (six apiece) for the lead for most conference members in the BCS Top 25. Sure, the SEC owns the six spots in between No. 4 and No. 9, but the Top 25 is the Top 25.
Stanford, OSU, UCLA, USC and Washington all own Top 25 real estate this week, which makes Oregon look good at the most opportune time imaginable. If Oregon were marooned on a tiny island in the South Pacific, and they had enough dry wood to create a fire, these next two weeks would be the kindling and the BCS would be the low-flying plane that witnessed the effort.
All Oregon needs is a crudely painted volleyball.
But more than anything else, this week offered the Ducks something that they have been deprived of for an entire season: Control of their own future. If they win out (still a tall order, mind you), then they’re in. No if’s, and’s or Saban-generated but’s.
So, on behalf of Oregon fans everywhere: Thank you, Johnny Football. You’re our Scooby Doo all year long.
Rising: Oregon (No. 3 to No. 2), Stanford (No. 14 to No. 13), UCLA (No. 18 to No. 17), USC (No. 19 to No. 18) and Washington (NR to No. 25).
Falling: Oregon State (No. 11 to No. 16)
- Even the mighty Crimson Tide lost three games in 2010, forcing them into the Capitol One Bowl and out of the BCS picture.Jump