Arizona State stunned Oregon 31-28 to change the landscape of the College Football Playoff chase. What does the big upset mean?
5. Arizona State was absolutely brilliant
Arizona State played a tough, nasty defense for three quarters, Oregon came roaring back with 21 fourth quarter points to get back into the game, but it was one throw.
Sun Devil freshman quarterback Jayden Daniels aired it out, Brandon Aiyuk ran under it, and one 81-yard touchdown later, the College Football Playoff race just took a big turn now that the No. 6 team has been knocked out of the national title hunt.
Daniels aired it out for 408 yards and three scores, Eno Benjamin ran 31 times for a nasty 114 yards, ASU became bowl eligible while also knocking out the Ducks.
4. Can the Pac-12 still get its dream?
If it was 11-1 Oregon vs. 11-1 Utah for the Pac-12 Championship, that would’ve been big enough to think the winner would’ve had at least a 50/50 shot of getting in based on the boost from a win over a fellow top seven team.
But now, it’ll take some more work for Utah to get the CFP nod – more on that in a moment – which is a must for Oregon to get the Rose Bowl bid.
If the Pac-12 champion is left out of the playoff, then it automatically goes to the Rose Bowl – obviously, the league wants its two star teams to be in two of the showcase games.
Even with this loss, it’s still possible for the Pac-12 two teams in the New Year’s Six world. However, the loss opens the door for …
3. Alabama. It got a piece of the puzzle it needed.
The Crimson Tide need a path.
They’re not playing for the SEC Championship, so all they can do is obliterate Auburn – if that’s possible.
They have to get in on a Four Best Team thing, but that”s not happening if Georgia beats an unbeaten LSU in the SEC Championship.
The Crimson Tide need more pieces for its puzzle. It could use an Oklahoma loss to Oklahoma State in Stillwater – not crazy considering the way the Sooners are playing – and it would be a massive help if Oregon wins the Pac-12 title.
At the very least, Arizona State did Saban a solid.
2. This Oregon loss actually hurts Utah
Beating Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship would be a big, giant deal no matter what, but being 12-1 with a conference title over an 11-1 Oregon would’ve looked a whole lot better than being 12-1 with a conference title over a 10-2 Oregon team that lost to a meh Arizona State team that was 5-5 at the time.
As long as Oregon doesn’t whiff against Oregon State and Utah doesn’t gack against Colorado, the Pac-12 title game will still be a thing. If Utah is able to beat the Ducks in a big blowout, then that will matter, too – it really is playing the part of a top four team.
But the Pac-12 would’ve loved the attention if Utah and Oregon were both top 7 teams when they faced off.
Utah can’t care about this. Take care of business, keep looking and playing the part, be dominant, and being a 12-1 Power Five conference champ should be enough – helped now that the loss at USC early on looks fine now – to get the No. 4 spot.
1. With Oregon out of it, who’s still alive for the College Football Playoff?
Penn State lost to Ohio State. The Nittany Lions are out.
Minnesota got past Northwestern, Oklahoma survived TCU, Georgia got through Texas A&M, and Alabama squeaked by the Western Carolina juggernaut.
So now, LSU, Ohio State, Clemson, Georgia, and Minnesota are the five teams that control their own respective destinies.
LSU and Ohio State can each lose next week – the Tigers play Texas A&M, the Buckeyes play Michigan – and be fine as long they each win their respective conference championship games.
Minnesota will get in if it beats Wisconsin and then Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship, and Georgia is in if it beats Georgia Tech and then takes out LSU.
Oklahoma, Utah, and Baylor all have a shot, but winning out is a must, getting some more help would be huge – the Oregon loss to Arizona State was massive – and then it needs the committee to not like Alabama, and …
It’s going to be a fun two weeks.