Timing is everything, especially in college football.
Your best teams and best seasons often fail to align. Tom Osborne couldn't win a national title with Turner Gill and, but he did with Brooks Berringer and an injured Tommie Frazier. Ohio State fell short with potentially the best team in the country in 1996 and 1998 and won it all with a limited offense in 2002. Oklahoma won a national title with Josh Heupel (and at the end of the season, a banged-up Josh Heupel), but not or . So many variables are outside of your control -- schedules, injuries, other teams' wins and losses, the odd bounces of a pointy, oblong ball, etc. -- that your opportunities do not always come when you think they will. The teams that win are the ones that can consistently put a high-quality product on the field and await a chance to pounce when opportunity presents itself.
Twice in the last five years, Oregon has fielded an indisputably elite team; the 2010 team that made the national title game was not one of those two. The first one was 2007's squad and was done in by an injury to. The second is this year's team, which, unless LSU or Oklahoma State loses soon, might be held back by scheduling and timing.