Doc 5: Best national championship runners-up — No. 5 Oregon

This offseason we will count down various topics from Monday through Friday, bringing you the top five of the important and definitely some not so important issues in college football. It's the Doc Five, every week until we will thankfully have actual games to discuss.


NO. 5 OREGON, 2010

As we turn our attention to the Final Four and more importantly, the national championship, we look back at what might have been for five unlucky college football teams during the BCS era.

There can only be one national champion, but sometimes the winning team in necessarily the best team. The five teams that were unfortunate enough to make this week’s Doc 5 might not have been the best teams in their championship games, but they were definitely the best runners-up in college football history.

In 2010, Oregon was all the rage.

It’s offense was fast, dynamic and exciting. Behind quarterback Darron Thomas and running backs LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner, the Ducks ranked first in total offense (530.69 yards per game), total scoring (47 points per game) and fourth in rushing with 286.23 yards per game.

The Ducks were simply untouchable when it came to offense and they had the flashy uniforms to compliment their flashy style. They defeated opponents by an average of 28.3 points and dominated the Pac-12.

But there was one game — a 15-13 win against a 5-7 Cal team — that would come back to haunt the Ducks and even provide a blueprint for Auburn in the BCS National Championship game.

For as good as Oregon was — and it was very good — the Pac-12 wasn’t exactly the best training ground for what it would see against an Auburn team that was not only able to slow the Ducks down offensively, but also physically manhandle them at the line of scrimmage.

Defensively, the Ducks dug in against Heisman-winning quarterback Cam Newton and running back Michael Dyer until the final drive. The Tigers went 73 yards to the Oregon 1-yard-line and kicked a game-winning field goal as time expired.

The 22-19 decision was the only loss for the Ducks and one that could have easily gone the other way, especially in a fourth quarter where Oregon gained momentum late. But Auburn made the game-winning plays when it needed to and Oregon couldn’t get the stops.

Still, few would argue that the 2010 Oregon team was one of the best teams in college football.

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Graham Watson is the editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at or follow her on Twitter

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