As 20-point underdogs, Stanford certainly shook up the Bowl Championship Series standings last week with its second straight win over an Oregon school.
While the University of Oregon’s loss was one of many high-profile games to shuffle up BCS bowl projections and the PAC-12 standings last weekend, it also left Ducks and Beavers fans to wonder what could have been.
If not for Cody Vaz’s slippery fingers on Nov. 10 and a Stanford shoulder pad in the Autzen end zone last Saturday, Oregon State and the visiting Ducks would have just one combined loss going into their annual regular-season conference finale.
Even after those miscues, official reviews and ensuing special teams flubs, Oregon and Oregon State failed to capitalize against Stanford in the end. That has left the Ducks as the only team eligible for a BCS bowl berth.
It will take some help too.
The fifth-ranked Ducks need PAC-12 South champion UCLA to beat North division-leading Stanford for a chance to play the Bruins for the conference title and Rose Bowl berth.
Slim hopes for the national title game still remain as well, but only if rival Southern California can knock off newly top-ranked Notre Dame.
Bowl scenarios are always a headache with countless “what-ifs,” but it all could have been avoided with wins over Stanford.
The Beavers would be playing for the chance to end a 47-year Rose Bowl drought, or possibly even a shot at “The Natty.”
While the Ducks are still eligible for a number of BCS bowls, including the Fiesta Bowl, the 2012 Civil War should have been worth so much more.
Major bowl implications have been at stake in the Civil War, and each team has lived up to or far exceeded preseason expectations multiple times over the last two decades, so I guess we have to stop complaining sometime.
It just doesn’t change the fact that both Oregon schools teased us once again by coming up a hair short of national relevance.
The Ducks and Beavers let a big opportunity get away, and despite each program’s recent accomplishments, it is hard to believe another chance as good as this year’s will come around anytime soon.
Prediction: Oregon 35, Oregon State 17.