What we learned: If K-State, Oregon win out, Ducks have edge


It was another crazy weekend.

We said goodbye to West Virginia's national championship hopes, saw dreams of an SEC championship come to an end for the Head Ball Coach (Steve Spurrier), and saw Texas Tech and Tommy Tuberville pull another one out of the fire against TCU (56-53 3OT).

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So what else did we learn?

New BCS shouldn't worry Oregon

I'm sure some of the Ducks started quacking loudly on Sunday night when Kansas State jumped into the No. 3 spot ahead of Oregon in the BCS standings. To my Oregon friends: Don't worry. Be Happy. Take care of your business and you'll be in South Florida come January. Understand that the BCS takes a snapshot and reflects what has happened to date.

Florida is No. 2, for example, because six of its seven wins have come against the SEC. Three of those wins (LSU, South Carolina, Texas A&M) have come against teams in the top 20 with another top-10 team (Georgia) coming up this week in Jacksonville. Then the Florida schedule trails off with Missouri, Louisiana-Lafayette and Jacksonville State before getting another bump at the end against No. 12 Florida State. Florida could drop to No. 3 in November without losing, but it doesn't matter if Alabama stays at No. 1 and meets the Gators in Atlanta.

If Kansas State and Oregon win out, I believe the Ducks get the edge for the No. 2 spot. Here's why:

Kansas State has top-25 games remaining with No. 14 Texas Tech and No. 23 Texas, both at home. The Big 12 does not have a championship game, so the best K-State can finish is 12-0.

Oregon is No. 6 in the computers right now, but that's about to change.

The Ducks have top-25 games left with No. 9 USC, No. 17 Stanford and No. 7 Oregon State. There is a reasonable chance Oregon will play USC again in the Pac-12 championship game. Oregon is already No. 2 in the human polls, but the computers will change. Oregon's 13-0 résumé will beat Kansas State's 12-0 résumé.

And no, I haven't forgotten about Notre Dame. That's another discussion for another time. If the Irish win at Oklahoma on Saturday, then we'll have that talk.

Sorry, Geno, Matt and AJ. The Heisman is Klein's to lose

For too long we've been looking at Kansas State QB Collin Klein as a classic overachiever. We see him as this big, gangly kid with a throwing motion that would make a shot putter blush. But you know what? The ball goes exactly where he's aiming it. He always throws it to the right guy and he runs with the authority and the intensity of a Tim Tebow. In short, this guy is not an overachiever who is just wringing the most out of his limited talent. He is one helluva football player.

Against West Virginia he completed 19 of 21 passes for 314 yards. Yes, I know the resistance provided by the WVU defense is roughly the equivalent of tall grass. All I know is this guy has gone on the road this season and beaten Oklahoma, Iowa State and West Virginia. And now Kansas State (7-0) is your favorite to win the Big 12 championship. There is much football to be played, but right now Klein is your favorite to win the Heisman.

Last time Auburn was 1-6, Truman was president

None of us who do this for a living thought Auburn was going to be a contender in the SEC West this season. There were just too many questions and things rarely go smoothly when you change both coordinators. But after Saturday's 17-13 loss to Vanderbilt, the Tigers are 1-6 (0-5 SEC) with conference games against Texas A&M, Georgia and Alabama still left to play. Auburn is now 9-11 overall since winning the national championship in 2010 and the pressure gets turned up on Auburn athletics director Jay Jacobs to do something -- anything -- to stop the misery.

Coach Gene Chizik's postgame press conference could be summed up in one sentence: "We've played this game before and today we played it again."

From their first game against Clemson in Atlanta until their seventh game on Saturday, the problems are the same: Auburn's offense is anemic and its defense can't stop anybody. The reality is that Chizik and his staff cannot fix what is wrong this season. The only question is whether Chizik will be given one more year to find a solution. If the answer to that question is no, then Auburn owes Chizik $7.5 million and the assistants about $1.5 million. That is a costly way to get some relief. And don't forget this. The pressure grows exponentially as long as Alabama is No. 1.

Duke is bowl-eligible for the first time since 1994

David Cutcliffe led Ole Miss to five winning seasons in his six years (1999-2004) as coach. When he was forced out in 2004 -- after going 4-7, the year after Eli Manning was drafted -- Cutcliffe promised he would do a lot of things differently if he got another chance. "I'll be a better head coach. I promise you that," he told me at the time.

On Saturday Cutcliffe's greatest wish came true as the Blue Devil's Sean Renfree threw a touchdown pass with 13 seconds left to beat North Carolina 33-30. Not only was it Duke's first win over its state rival after eight straight losses, it made the Blue Devils (6-2, 3-1 ACC) bowl-eligible for the first time in 18 years.

To put this in perspective, Duke has not won six games in a season since 1994, when the Blue Devils started 7-0. Since then they've won four games in a season three times and five games once (2009, Cutcliffe's second year). Oh, and by the way: Today Duke sits alone atop the ACC's Coastal Division, with Florida State, Clemson, Georgia Tech and Miami still to play.

"We have big challenges in front, but mountains were made to be climbed," Cutcliffe wrote to me on Sunday.

Gators are back, and they're only going to get better

In the spring of 2011, not long after Will Muschamp became the coach at Florida, I visited him in his office in Gainesville. Understand that I've known Muschamp since he was a walk-on at Georgia. What the young man lacked in talent as a player he more than compensated for in his determination to succeed. When he got into coaching, I knew it was matter of when, not if, he would become a successful head coach at this level.

On that day he laid out his plan for bring Florida football back to prominence: Run the football with power (no more of this spread nonsense) and be able to run it in the fourth quarter to protect the lead. Stop the run. Be physical on defense and force turnovers. Be the dominant team, both mentally and physically, in the fourth quarter.

It's fair to say now: Florida football has returned, at least one year ahead of schedule.

Nobody -- and I mean nobody -- thought Florida could dominate South Carolina as it did, 44-11. Even Steve Spurrier was shell-shocked and at a loss for words. And now Florida can clinch a spot in the SEC championship game before the calendar turns to November by beating Georgia on Saturday in Jacksonville.

People keep telling me Florida is not the No. 2 team in the country. I say it doesn't matter. If they go 13-0, which would mean they have to beat Georgia, Florida State and either Alabama or LSU in Atlanta, the Gators will deserve to be in the big game.

Watch the Tony Barnhart Show Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET on the CBS Sports Network.

Tony Barnhart is in his fifth season as a contributor to CBSSports.com. He is a college football analyst for CBS Sports and The CBS Sports Network. Prior to joining CBS he was the national college football writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for 24 years. He has written five books on college football.

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