Huge night for Pac-10 elite BCS hopes 

September, 19, 2010

One of the questions I addressed in the mailbag Friday was about Oregon's prospects of making it to the BCS title game, and trying to gauge how high of a ceiling the Ducks had. I thought that Oregon, or any unbeaten Pac-10 conference champ, would be put at the back of the line behind (A) an unbeaten SEC champ; (B) an unbeaten Big Ten champ; or (C) an unbeaten Big 12 champ.

And when I woke up Saturday morning, things for commissioner Larry Scott's league had taken an additional hit; Cal got drilled 52-31 by Nevada on Friday night. The Golden Bears came into the game No. 1 in defense and were exposed by a program that had lost its previous eight games against teams from power conferences or Notre Dame.

The point was that regardless of how impressive Oregon has been -- and now they've outscored their three opponents 189-13 -- they're going to have to cope with the fact they may not have any wins over top 10 opponents this year. Their nonconference schedule is going to look very soft, especially if Tennessee ends up 5-7, or even worse. And yes, the Pac-10 needs USC to start looking impressive, but the feeling that came from Saturday night was an eye-popping upturn for the Pac-10 and their BCS title contenders.