California's Loss to ASU Could be an Unfortunate Factor in Oregon's College Football Playoff Hopes
The No. 15 California Golden Bears couldn't keep up their end of the bargain on Friday night.
Instead of beating the Arizona State Sun Devils, and holding a 5-0 record coming into Autzen Stadium to face the No. 13 Oregon Ducks, Cal fell to ASU, losing 24-17. It obviously didn't help that their starting quarterback, Chase Garbers, left the game in the first half with a shoulder injury that is likely to hold him out for weeks to come.
Still, even before Garbers left the game, and struggling Devon Modster entered the game, Cal didn't look like they had a complete grip of the game. The teams were tied at 7-7 going into the half, and Modster's inability to throw the ball proved to be too much of a hindrance in the end — he went 5-for-14 for 23 yards and one interception in relief of Garbers. I'm not convinced that, even at full strength, the Ducks wouldn't have made a complete mockery of the Golden Bears next week, and because of that, the loss for Cal is all that more unfortunate.
Had Oregon been able to host a 5-0 team from Cal, a convincing win over them would have been an impressive strength-of-schedule booster for the Ducks. As it stands now in the Pac-12, there are no dominant teams, as Utah, Washington, Washington State, and USC all have blemishes on their record. Oregon has a good chance to run the table and win out, but even then, a Pac-12 title over a weak conference is not guaranteed to get them into the College Football Playoff. The Ducks have already had one SOS builder this season, but they lost that game to now No. 7 Auburn. A win over a well-ranked team would have been the boost that Oregon may need when it comes to the voting committee.
Nonetheless, Cal lost, and the injury to Garbers will take a primetime matchup on FOX that was worth of College GameDay nods to little more than an afterthought. The Ducks will win in blowout fashion, and the college football world will hardly give it any attention.
What a shame.