The Oregon Ducks lost a costly game on Saturday night to the USC Trojans. Barring a miracle in the final week (or perhaps more appropriately, a series of disasters), the first Pac-12 loss of the season for the Ducks (and their second loss overall) has effectively sunk their hopes for a berth in the National Championship Game.
When the new BCS rankings come out tomorrow, the Ducks will most likely drop from their No. 4 spot. At the very least, even with a slew of upsets this past week, Oregon is unlikely to do any better than stand pat after this big loss. The good news is that if the Ducks win their final game next week against Oregon State, they will clinch the Pac-12 North and have an excellent shot of gaining entry to the Rose Bowl.
However, if the Ducks should lose to the Beavers, Stanford will clinch the Pac-12 North and the Ducks will be shut out of both the National Championship Game and a trip to Pasadena. But let's focus on the good news. The Pac-12 North is a much stronger division than the South, and most experts are confident that whichever team clinches the North will ultimately prevail in the Pac-12 championship game.
So Saturday's 38-35 loss, although stunning and unfortunate, is far from the end for this strong Ducks team. Next Saturday, they will face a team that they will be heavily favored against. Oregon tends to be good at winning games they are expected to win. Although they may have lost out on a national title this week, the Rose Bowl is still well within their grasp.