Not having Braxton was not the only reason we lost.
1. Our offensive line failed to block effectively
2. We did not effectively adjust to the defense being played against us.
3. Our receivers could not catch easy passes.
4. Our receivers were not on the same page as JT several times including 2 of the INTs.
5. Our defense could not get off the field on 3rd down.
6. Our place kicker could not make 2 easy field goals.
Ok, so fix 1-2 of the 6 issues above and we beat a bad team. But there are 6 glaring issues that you cannot just give a pass to because it was early in the season. Oregon did not come out of the gate this season with those issues. They had a singular issue for a game they lost, an injury to the OL, and when you change 1 thing on an OL it affects the entire rhythm of the OL, it's not just plug and play like other position groups. Please please please tell my why we deserve more of a pass for this than Oregon. Should our young line that took a few games to get it together be placed above a veteran line that's played more consistently all season except for a game where they were missing a starter?
Today, we may be better than Oregon. Our offense and defense are improving rapidly. Like I said before, we are currently, and will be moreso at season's end, the most dangerous team in college football. But the season is about body of work, and our first two games were bad. Just because we've overcame more adversity doesn't mean we should receive special treatment. The playoff is not the most improved team award, it is who has the best resume and showed it on the field for 12-13 games.