The Oregon Ducks haven't reached the College Football Playoff since 2014 -- the tournament's inaugural season. But the program should once again be considered a legitimate national title contender, as they recently pulled of a stunning upset.
Without star defenders Justin Flowe and Kayvon Thibodeaux, No. 12 Oregon defied the oddsmakers, beating No. 3 Ohio State, 35-28, as heavy underdogs on Saturday in Columbus. It was Oregon's first-ever win against Ohio State in 10 tries, and their first meeting since the inaugural CFP title game.
"Obviously, it's a monster win for the program and one that we quickly put behind us," Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal told The Zach Gelb Show on Monday. "I couldn't be more excited about a performance like that because that's a tough place to play. That's an elite team with elite coaches -- they're first-class in every sense and they haven't lost there since 2017. I'm through the roof, excited. But all that ended at midnight Saturday.
"We've got a lot of improvements to make for us to achieve the things we want to achieve. We're on it, pressing on, and looking forward to a great game this week... Even my son, who's 10 years old, tried to mention [CFP odds] yesterday and I shot him with a Nerf gun. I don't want to hear any of that talk from anybody. It's way too early in the season to be messing with that stuff..."
Oregon, which moved up to No. 4 in this week's AP poll, made Ohio State's defense vulnerable with shrewd playcalling and a balanced attack. The Ducks amassed 505 yards of offense, and junior running back CJ Verdell rushed for 161 yards with three total touchdowns. According to ESPN Stats & Info, it was Oregon's first road win against an AP-ranked Big Ten team since 1989.
The Ducks (2-0) will receive a much-needed breather in Week 3, as they're scheduled to host Stony Brook this Saturday in Eugene. According to the William Hill Sportsbook, Oregon has the best odds (+180) to win the Pac-12 title and the sixth-best odds (+2500) to win the national championship.
The entire conversation between Cristobal and Gelb can be accessed in the audio player above.