Why fans of No. 8 Oregon shouldn’t float idea of Ducks in CFP

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The No. 8 Oregon Ducks look the part of a potential Pac-12 champion following their 45-30 win over No. 12 UCLA.

At 6-1, the Ducks would be among the teams hotly debated in College Football Playoff conversations were it not for a 49-3 loss to No. 1 Georgia in the opener in Atlanta. Could Oregon still make the playoff despite that embarrassing defeat? History suggests the answer, “No way.”

USA Today columnist Dan Wolken addressed the glaring loss to the Bulldogs in a recent column.

“The moment that game ended, the playoff should have been the last thing on the minds of any Oregon fan, player, coach or administrator,” Wolken wrote. “It was such a failure to launch, such a non-conference résumé eyesore, that it would’ve been tough to envision the Ducks becoming relevant at all in the CFP discussion.”

In the six games since that loss, Oregon has two wins over top 15 teams. 

Only two teams have managed to convince the CFP committee of their playoff worthiness after suffering a loss of 14 points or more. In 2014, Ohio State landed in the inaugural playoff after losing to Virginia Tech, 35-21, at home and, in 2017, Georgia earned a spot despite suffering a 40-17 loss to Auburn.

In Ohio State’s case, the Buckeyes used wins over No. 8 Michigan State, No. 25 Minnesota and No. 13 Wisconsin to make up for the early season loss. The Bulldogs made up for their loss to Auburn by defeating the Tigers, 28-7, in the SEC Championship.

However, the 14-point and 23-point losses pale in comparison to the Ducks’ 46-point loss.

The Ohio State and Georgia 2018 resumes, which saw both miss the playoff, offer better comparisons  to Oregon.

The Buckeyes managed a 12-1 record with a win in the Big Ten Championship, but a 49-20 loss to Purdue kept the Buckeyes from the playoff. Similarly, Georgia likely could have survived a 35-28 loss to No. 1 Alabama in the SEC Championship if not for an earlier 36-16 loss to LSU.

While not perfect matches to the Ducks, those playoff committee decisions indicate Oregon will be on the outside looking in even it wins the rest of its games. 

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