- Ted Miller, ESPN Staff Writer
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Oregon is No. 2 behind Kansas State in the BCS standings, which means the Ducks pretty much control their own destiny: Win out, and they will play for a national title for the second time in three years.
After Alabama lost, Oregon is ranked No. 1 in both human polls, the coaches and Harris poll, which make up two-thirds of the rankings. The Ducks computer ranking ranges between No. 3 and 5, and it works out to No. 4.
Kansas State is No. 2 in the human polls and computer polls, which earns the Wildcats a No. 1 ranking. No. 4 Notre Dame is No. 3 in the human polls and No. 1 with the computers.
But Oregon has the advantage of playing by far the toughest remaining schedule, which will boost the Ducks computer ranking.
Five other Pac-12 teams are ranked in the BCS top-25: No. 13 Stanford, No. 16 Oregon State, No. 17 UCLA, No. 18 USC and No. 25 Washington.
The Ducks have already beaten USC and Washington. They play Stanford on Saturday and Oregon State on Nov. 24. If they win those games, and thereby win the Pac-12 North Division, they then will face the winner of Saturday's USC-UCLA game in the Pac-12 title game.
It's possible that rugged schedule would boost the Ducks to No. 1 in the BCS standings at season's end. That would be nice for Oregon, but perhaps not so great for the Pac-12.
If Oregon is ranked No. 1 in the BCS standings, that means the Rose Bowl, losing its Pac-12 anchor team, would get the first at-large selection among BCS eligible teams. If Notre Dame is undefeated, it would be difficult to imagine the Rose Bowl would pass up the Fighting Irish. It might be difficult to pass up Notre Dame even at 11-1.
If Kansas State finishes No. 1 in the BCS standings, which is unlikely if Oregon is 13-0 and the Wildcats are 12-0, then the Fiesta Bowl would get the first selection.
Of course, for this to even be an issue for the Pac-12, a second conference team needs to be ranked among the top-14 of the final BCS standings. That's going to be close, because if Oregon finishes 13-0, every conference team will finish with at least three losses.
2dChantel Jennings and Ted Miller