ESPN analyst explains why Oregon is their pick to make the College Football Playoff
ESPN’s Football Power Index gives Oregon a 5% chance to make the College Football Playoff. Should the Ducks win out and claim a Pac-12 title, that percentage chance still wouldn’t climb above even 50%. FPI gives Ohio State, Georgia, and Clemson all a greater than 60% chance of getting in. USC, with a conference loss to Utah on the résumé, is viewed as twice as likely to get in as the Ducks.
But that’s just one model that doesn’t really have any bearing on the actual CFP selection committee. The human element — the eye test part — is always hard to quantify. And that’s where the Ducks might shine.
ESPN’s Heather Dinich thinks there are few teams playing better football than the Ducks right now. Despite the unsightly Week 1 loss to Georgia, Dinich has the Ducks as the No. 4 team in her current CFP field.
“Mine are probably different than the selection committee but at No. 1 I have Ohio State, I’m glad Paul (Finebaum) has finally copied off my paper and joined the club,” Dinich said Wednesday during an appearance on the ESPN morning show Get Up. “At No. 2, I have Georgia, No. 3 Tennessee, and No. 4 Quack, I’ve got the Ducks. The reason I have Oregon there is because, Paul nailed it, Penn State? Paper lion. I love that description of it. I don’t think Michigan’s win against Penn State is that great, I think Oregon’s win against UCLA is better. They’ve won six straight since losing to Georgia.”
And during that six-game winning streak, the Ducks have scored 40 points in every game.
In conference play, Oregon has one of the best scoring differentials of any team in the country (plus-15 a game, eighth-best nationally).
The Ducks’ have the highest-scoring offense in the Pac-12 (42.7 points a game, seventh nationally) and are being led by a resurgent Bo Nix. As the former Auburn quarterback has found his footing in the Ducks’ offense, Oregon has soared. Nix has put himself firmly into the Heisman mix thanks to 25 total touchdowns and just one turnover in his last six games.
Where the Ducks land in the first batch of CFP rankings (released next Tuesday) will tell us a lot.
Since 2016, the lowest initial ranking for a team that still made the field was Oklahoma at No. 9 in 2019. No two-loss team has ever made the field, though. Oregon needs to keep winning. Next up is a trip to Berkeley to face Cal on Saturday (12:30 p.m. PT, FS1).