and then there Were None.
No more Pac-12 not out. There’s no more opportunity for Oregon to control its destiny for the college football playoffs.
Although it was a troubling one, it should have come as no surprise. But it shouldn’t have ended like this The No. 3 Ducks lost most of their game 31-24 in overtime at Stanford on Saturday. After a slow start, he controlled late. Leading at seven, they moved into cardinal territory and were in a position to finish the clock with two minutes remaining.
Instead, a pair of false-start penalties allowed Stanford to get the ball back with an opportunity to tie. Two more penalties – both personal fouls – assisted the Cardinals as they moved into the scoring zone. A holding penalty on a fourth-down incomplete extended the game by one play, and Stanford forced overtime. The rest was overtime history.
All positive momentum was gone for Oregon after a 4-0 start that included a memorable win at Ohio State and a narrow win against Fresno State. The September success gave the Pac-12 hope that it could be the year to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2017.
However, there were obvious holes that became apparent in the win. Oregon’s defense allowed 612 yards in that defeat to the Buckeyes. Anthony Brown played well at quarterback, but this offense still lacked consistency and big plays in the passing game.
Against Arizona without a win in a home game last week, a team a national title contender should easily handle, the Ducks only led by five in the fourth quarter, before a few late scores led to a flatter final score. led.
Some of those issues appeared again against Stanford because the defense could not get the necessary stop late in regulation or in overtime. Forced to pass the team’s final possession, Brown was unable to get down a required first.
Oregon is closed next week and goodbye may come at an appropriate time. Players need to be healthy and there is some soul-searching to be done about the team going forward.
The win against Ohio State boosts the Ducks’ résumé and provides some margin for error. The way things are shaping up, the margins are very slim.
Alabama and Georgia seem like locks to the field unless someone loses the SEC title before the game. Cincinnati could be in the mix if the Bearcats can continue to win after an impressive defeat to Notre Dame. There are also many unbeaten in Big Ten and Big 12.
Perhaps realizing one’s own mortality would add more urgency to Columbus in Week 2, but it’s been lacking since then. But it’s also important to recognize the pomp of the game that overcame this team’s boundaries.
As well as what Mario Cristóbal has recruited, there just isn’t enough talent across the board to show up without full attention and enthusiasm. Dominate the running game or the offense is about to stop. Defense of less than full force is not enough to stop even average offenses.
A manageable schedule awaits in the rest of the regular season. The biggest test comes on October 23 when UCLA leads Eugene in a game that could be a preview of the Pac-12 title game. Two wins against the Bruins would certainly change the outlook for Oregon in December, considering how unpredictable this season has been.
Although it is far away. The first move is being prepared for California in the next game. Duck focusing on anything else at this point is wasted energy.
Follow college reporter Eric Smith on Twitter @ErikSmith