The Oregon Ducks ended the 2019-2020 season on an incredibly high note: A 12-win season, Pac-12 champions and 2020 Rose Bowl victors. The Ducks finished the 2019 season ranked at No. 5 in the nation.
That momentum carried over into the offseason with head coach Mario Cristobal signing the No. 3 ranked class of 2021.
This season will look a tad different in Eugene, Oregon with key personnel now in the NFL: quarterback Justin Herbert, linebacker Troy Dye, and the totality of the offensive line. Not to mention the secondary will be missing three key pieces who decided to opt-out of the season ahead and declare for the 2021 NFL Draft: Jevon Holland, Thomas Graham Jr., and Deommodore Lenoir.
The Ducks will have some work to do and will start the 2020 season ranked at No. 14.
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Oregon is the sole Pac-12 conference team ranked in the AP Top-25. This is not a good look for the Pac-12, who finally reached a verdict last week to play football in 2020. It will be a shortened season, North division playing North division and South playing South, one crossover game and then the conference championship on Dec. 18.
Just seven games.
Will that be enough for the College Football Playoff Committee to put a 7-0 Pac-12 team in one of the four playoff spots?
Oregon Athletic Director Rob Mullens, who happens to also be on the CFP committee, believes so.
“I think the committee has a charge and the charge of a CFP committee is to choose the four best teams for the playoff, with a set of criteria,” said Mullens. “And I think a 7-0 Pac-12 team will be given every consideration. This is going to be a unique year.”
The best-case scenario for the Ducks to have that opportunity is if teams ahead of them in the rankings lose. The Oklahoma Sooners dropped from No. 3 to No. 18 this week in the rankings after their loss to Kansas State last Saturday.
A lot will have to go right for Oregon inn this anything-but-normal season to have the opportunity to be selected in the CFP.