This is Casey Mitchell guest blogging for ST today. Last week's heartbreaking loss to Stanford really put a spin on the Ducks' season. We are in a very similar spot as we were last season after the USC loss, except we had a PAC 12 Championship game to fall back on last year. Now the Ducks are in need of a UCLA win over the Cardinal for a shot at the Rose Bowl. However, there is a scenario where Oregon does not want a championship game. There's a chance that Oregon can still make it to the Natty without winning their conference.
I know that USC is without Barkley, but that doesn't mean Notre Dame is just going to steamroll over the Trojans in Los Angeles. Keep in mind, SC quarterback Max Wittek was a top five recruit in his class, and he has two tremendous receivers to throw the ball to. The Irish have been having some troubles in their secondary as of late, and the Trojans have the type of firepower to exploit those weaknesses. So if USC can upset the Irish, that makes Oregon's road to Miami a little bit easier.
They would still need Florida State to beat Florida, but I don't think that will be much of a problem. Gator QB Jeff Driskel is probable to play with his ankle injury, but he is on the road against a very talented Seminole team, and the Noles should win with no issues. If both Notre Dame and Florida drop their rivalry games, all the Ducks need to do is take care of the Beavs in Corvallis, which will be no easy task.
Oregon State is looking for an At-Large bid for the BCS, and a win over the Ducks would make them very attractive to a game like the Fiesta Bowl. The Ducks are not only playing for a Rose Bowl or a possible National Championship, but they want to lock up a spot in the BCS. If Oregon doesn't want this season to be a complete bust, they need to beat the Beavers in the Civil War.