GLENDALE, Ariz. Were Thursday night's Fiesta Bowl played a couple of seasons from now, No. 4 Oregon might be on its way to a national championship game.
But with a college football playoff system yet to be implemented, the Ducksinstead will finish out another season ranked in the top five nationally and winners of back-to-back BCS games after topping No. 5 Kansas State 35-17.
Oregon appears poised to remain among college football's elite entering next season, but after a 12-1 campaign it's hard not to wonder what might have been had the Ducks not slipped up against Stanford.
What if Alejandro Maldonado's 41-yard overtime field goal had gone through the uprights? Might Oregon be preparing to play Notre Dame or Alabama in Monday's BCS National Championship Game? Or what if a playoff had been established already? Might the Ducks be on their way to the pinnacle of college football?
If Oregon coach Chip Kelly or any Ducks players asked themselves such questions ...