ESPN Gameday was visiting Seattle for the first time, Washington fans were feeling like this was finally their year, and the national media trumpeted this game as a "measuring stick" for Oregon, Washington, and the rest of the Pac-12.
Too bad it didn't turn out that way.
While Oregon was putting the finishing touches on a dominating performance over the number 16 team in the nation, Alabama took to the field to take on 1-4 Kentucky without a care in the world about how they were going to win that game. After a lackluster first quarter, Alabama remembered who they were, who the Wildcats were and ended it quickly and decisively with 24 points in the second quarter.
Later in the evening, Texas A&M tried their best to light their own house on fire in their game against 3-2 Ole Miss but Johnny Manziel came along riding the Johnny Firetruck(tm), put out the fire that they lit, and the collective nation swooned over the SEC, the magic of Manziel, and the raw power of Alabama. Even in ESPN's College Football Final "Final Verdict" segment, Lou Holtz, Mark May and Rece Davis discuss the idea that A.J. McCarron is college football's MVP with Holtz claiming that "no one pays attention to him".
And just like that, Oregon's performance is an after-thought. The Ducks, of course, did what they were supposed to do. They just beat up on another team on their way to a victory. Marcus Mariota? Sure, another fine performance against a defense that must have been overrated.
The narrative has been set, at least for this week.
Despite Oregon beating a nationally ranked team at their house on Saturday, despite that Marcus Mariota had a Heisman-like performance in a game that nationally was billed as a "measuring stick", the Oregon Ducks lost a first place vote in the Coaches Poll to Alabama and many voters trumpeted the return of Johnny Manziel to the top of their Heisman lists.
For Oregon? They return to the practice fields and lush forested retreat of Autzen Stadium, waiting again for the next challenger. Of course, maybe Manziel will claw his team back from the brink against Auburn or we'll get to see highlights from Alabama's "powerful statement" against 3-4 Arkansas. Should be just enough for Oregon to lose a few more votes.