One throwaway play from the first game of the year for both the LSU Tigers and Oregon Ducks may ultimately play a pivotal role in deciding the 2011 BCS National Champion.
Back on September 3, the Tigers absolutely punished the Ducks in what was touted as the marquee early-season game of the year. LSU's defense was brilliant from to start to finish, and the offense was surprisingly solid despite the fact that one of the team’s two quarterbacks in Jordan Jefferson was embroiled in a bigtime bar fight scandal that came to light shortly before the start of the season.
With the game already decided and less than 30 seconds left on the clock, Oregon was able to get the ball into the endzone for a touchdown that didn’t mean much in the grand scheme of 13-point shellacking.
The Tigers won that game 40-27.
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Following the events of this past weekend, the Boise State Broncos have officially been eliminated from contention for the BCS championship and Oregon has slowly shifted back up the rankings. As it stands, the Ducks are sitting comfortably in fourth place behind the Tigers, Oklahoma State Cowboys and Alabama Crimson Tide.
Conventional wisdom says that Alabama won’t get a rematch versus LSU. It could happen, obviously, but most seem to agree that voters would not want to see a reincarnation of the 9-6 defensive battle fans were privy to a mere two weeks ago.
The Cowboys, meanwhile, control their own destiny. If they can hang on against Oklahoma two weeks from now, they will be the ones to earn a bid to the champion game – no doubt about it. They offer the perfect contrasting style to LSU’s aggressive, defensively-oriented schemes, and the voters would absolutely respond with glee to the possibilities.
If -- and this is a big if -- Oklahoma State falls to the Oklahoma Sooners, though, that could open the door for Oregon. So long as the team is able to get past the USC Trojans this coming weekend, the vastly-inferior Oregon State Beavers on November 26, and whoever they play in the league championship game on December 2 – they could end up in the big seat with a chance at redemption against LSU.
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And it’s safe to say that, had the Ducks not scored that last second seemingly meaningless touchdown on the Tigers back in Week 1 of action, the powers that be wouldn’t have given them the slight advantage that they currently have on the No. 5 ranked Sooners.
Will the stars align for Oregon?
We’ll find out soon enough.