PHOENIX (AP) -If the college football season ended today ... well, the season doesn't end today.
That may be bad news for Oregon and good news for Hawaii.
The Ducks want to hold on to their No. 2 ranking and earn a spot in the Bowl Championship Series title game in New Orleans. They don't need anything to change between now and the Dec. 2 BCS selections.
No. 16 Hawaii is four spots out of a guaranteed BCS berth, worth more than $9 million to the Western Athletic Conference. The Warriors need a lot to happen between now and Dec. 2.
The Ducks and the Warriors have one thing in common: neither controls its own BCS destiny. Both teams have reasons to be nervous heading into nationally televised games this week - Oregon at Arizona on Thursday night and Hawaii at Nevada on Friday night.
``Right now, it's wait and see because there are so many games to be played and so many scenarios,'' Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen said last week. ``Everybody's looking at it and thinking about it. But we've got to see how it all plays out.''
Start with Oregon, which moved to No. 2 after top-ranked Ohio State lost last week to Illinois. The Ducks only have to sweep Arizona, UCLA and Oregon State and they can start making reservations for the French Quarter, right?
Wrong. It's possible that No. 3 Kansas or No. 4 Oklahoma, and maybe even No. 5 Missouri, could vault Oregon in the final standings.
The Ducks (8-1, 5-1 Pac-10) know better than to trust the BCS, which has burned them twice.
The first time was in 2001, when the Ducks finished second in The Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN polls but fourth in the BCS standings. The BCS computers ushered Nebraska - which hadn't even won its own Big 12 division - past the Ducks and into the Rose Bowl, site of the national title game.
Four years later, Oregon officials tried to get ahead of the game, flying to Tempe, Ariz., to lobby the Fiesta Bowl for a bid. It turned out to be a wasted trip because the Fiesta was obligated to match No. 6 Notre Dame and No. 4 Ohio State. The fifth-ranked Ducks were caught in the middle of BCS fine print.
``2001 and 2005 were both very difficult situations for the University of Oregon, ones in which we felt we were really wronged,'' coach Mike Bellotti said. ``I still don't understand it, and I'm not going to waste my time thinking about it.''
The BCS had better be careful about hosing the Ducks a third time, or Nike founder and Oregon benefactor Phil Knight might just buy the system and shut it down.
And BCS officials wouldn't want an angry Oregon mascot showing up at their door on Dec. 2. The Duck, remember, was suspended for a game earlier this year after pummeling the Houston Cougar.
Bellotti says his team will do its lobbying on the field.
``I'm not going to start politicking for anything,'' Bellotti said. ``Our focus is worrying about what we can control.''
In reality, the Ducks lost control of their BCS destiny the moment the football slipped out of receiver Cameron Colvin's hands as he tried to stretch it across the goal line in a 31-24 loss to California on Sept. 29. That dramatic play, which went to an official review, is the only thing separating the Ducks from perfection.
For Hawaii, even perfection might not be enough. The Warriors (9-0, 6-0 Western Athletic Conference) may find themselves on an island in more ways than one.
If the Warriors hope to become the third non-BCS school to crash college football's postseason party, they have to finish in the top 12 of the BCS standings. They're four slots away with games against Nevada, Boise State and Washington remaining.
The two BCS polls rate the Warriors 11th and 12th. The computers peg them at No. 27 - one rung behind once-beaten WAC rival Boise State and only a few spots north of the Marshall Islands.
Hawaii is taking flak for a schedule that includes two Football Championship Subdivision teams, formerly known as Division I-AA. Hawaii's first nine opponents have a combined .259 winning percentage.
``You've got to understand that this team has played the worst schedule in the 10-year history of the BCS, by a lot,'' said BCS analyst Jerry Palm, who runs the collegebcs.com Web site from Indiana. ``I look at this team and I think, they're no better than seventh or eighth in the Big Ten.''
WAC commissioner Karl Benson takes issue with that. He said the schedule isn't Hawaii's fault; the Warriors lost a date with Michigan State and ended up filling it with a second lower-division opponent.
``They offered to play games on the mainland,'' he said. ``They offered to play at Michigan, at Indiana. They were willing to go on the road to fill a game.''
Tell that to the computers.
Palm said the Warriors can expect a bump in the computers if they beat 5-4 Nevada (that's their record, not their height) and 9-1 Boise State. But the computers may hold their noses when Hawaii meets 3-7 Washington, its lone BCS-level opponent.
If Hawaii wins out, Palm gives the Warriors ``better than a 50-50 shot'' of finishing in the BCS Top 12, which would mean a guaranteed BCS berth, probably in the Sugar Bowl, for Colt Brennan and Co.
Oregon's chances of reaching the title game may be better than 50-50. Or they may not. Nobody can say for sure.
All we know about the BCS is that we never know about the BCS.
---
Andrew Bagnato covers college football for The Associated Press. Write to him at abagnato(at)ap.org.

Recent NCAAF Discussions

2017 Heisman Odds on Wed, Mar 2017 by Blade
College / NBA today on Sun, Mar 2017 by TtomBoBadly
SNOW on Tue, Mar 2017 by Michael Cash
EARLY COLL PLAYS FOR WED. on Wed, Mar 2017 by Timmy1961

NCAAF Headlines

  • (STATS) - Coming off its best record, Houston Baptist's young FCS program will kick off the 2017 season at Texas State and play four times at home as part of an 11-game schedule.
    The Huskies f...
  • JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. (AP) Ken Sparks, a football coach who won 338 games for Division II Carson-Newman to rank fifth on the NCAA's all-time list, has died. He was 73.
    Carson-Newman athletic ...
  • (STATS) - McNeese will play five home games and open the season with a conference matchup for the first time since 1975 as part of an 11-game 2017 schedule which was announced Wednesday.
    The C...
  • (STATS) - The rivalry matchup between Maine and New Hampshire has been moved up two days to Aug. 31 at Wildcat Stadium in Durham, New Hampshire.
    Traditionally the season-ending matchup between...
  • LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) An Arkansas House committee advanced a measure Tuesday to exempt college sporting events from a state law allowing guns after the Southeastern Conference appealed for guns t...

NCAAF Top Stories

Thumbnail Michigan vs. Florida Week 1 Odds One of the featured games in Week 1 of the College Football Season has two historic programs colliding when Michigan faces...
Thumbnail Updated National Championship Odds With over five months before kickoff of the new season, is Alabama still favored to win it all in 2018?
Thumbnail VA Tech opens as favorites vs WVU Some of the Week 1 lines have been released for college football and Virginia Tech has opened as a small favorite versus West Virginia.
Thumbnail Stanford QB on track for camp Stanford head coach David Shaw said that quarterback Keller Chryst is "right on schedule" for training camp.

NCAAF Team Pages