No. 6 Oregon watched their College Football Playoff hopes evaporate at Arizona State in a 31-28 loss on Saturday.
Quarterback Justin Herbert threw two costly interceptions, and the Ducks fell out of the one-loss line despite a furious fourth-quarter comeback. That complicates the College Football Playoff path for the Pac-12 champion now, as well as Alabama and the Big 12 champion.
Here is how Oregon’s loss impacts the playoff picture:
The Crimson Tide still face hurdles to get that last spot in the Playoff, but this was one of the bigger pieces.
Oregon had a better path to the Playoff as a one-loss team, and now that is gone. Alabama still needs Georgia to lose in the SEC championship game, however, but a new team is going to sneak in the No. 6 spot. The question is whether the committee will put Utah there, or if it will be another big brand in line for a conference championship.
Oklahoma does too
The Sooners can win the Big 12 championship as a one-loss team, and they have one of the nation’s best offenses led by Heisman Trophy candidate Jalen Hurts.
Oklahoma would not have won the last argument against a one-loss Oregon team that won the Pac-12 championship. The Sooners, however, could bump Utah off given season-ending matchups against ranked teams in Oklahoma State and Baylor.
Utah is Pac-12’s last hope
The Utes needed Oregon to make the Pac-12 championship game so the conference would have a blockbuster matchup between one-loss teams. That puts a damper on that, and it also leaves the Utes in a tough spot.
Yes, Utah is a one-loss team that bounced from a loss to USC and has played with a no-frills approach that has kept them in the mix under Kyle Whittingham. That might not resonate with the committee as much.
The Utes, however, would not be a lock to snag that last Playoff spot ahead of the Crimson Tide or Sooners because of the strength of schedule in the Pac-12. They also need to beat Colorado to get in the Pac-12 championship game by virtue of the loss to the Trojans. The one-loss argument just became much more interesting, assuming chalk holds. Who would you take out of Alabama, Oklahoma and Utah if it comes to that?
Oregon can still go to Rose Bowl
How costly was the loss for Oregon?
If the Utes don’t make the College Football Playoff, then the Pac-12 championship will be for a spot in the Rose Bowl. The Ducks need that one just to stay in the New Year’s Day 6.
The program has rebuilt under Mario Cristobal and is taking steps in the right direction. Oregon, however, is not immune to a costly upset. This one came at the worst time.