EUGENE, Ore. – The locals like to call Autzen Stadium the loudest place in college football. But when Jordan Williamson’s 37-yard field goal sliced through the cold night air and between the uprights, the only sound was silence.
It was so quiet you could hear a dream die. And nearly hear the celebrations that erupted thousands of miles away in South Bend and Tuscaloosa.
On the most shocking night yet in a season of tumult, Oregon’s undefeated season hit the scrap heap in a 17-14 overtime loss to Stanford. Meanwhile in Waco, Texas, Kansas State was being routed by lowly Baylor. The top two teams in America, with the inside track to play each other for the national title come January, performed a synchronized face plant.
Now undefeated Notre Dame and rejuvenated Alabama will assume the most coveted – and pressurized – positions in the nation. The Fighting Irish are a single victory against arch-rival USC from a berth in the BCS championship game. The Crimson Tide must handle arch-rival Auburn – a program in disarray – and then win the SEC championship game against Georgia.
But if the last two Saturdays have taught us anything, it’s this: Don’t assume anything. The road to South Florida is littered with November land mines.
Few anticipated the Ducks stepping on one here.