I asked Chip Kelly afterward what his final message to the team would be before they left the locker room Thursday night, that one element that he most wants them to keep in mind for the game.
"Ball security is the No. 1 thing," Kelly said. "If you look at us, when we've been in trouble, it's because we've put the ball on the ground."
• George Schroeder shares a feature story on how Oregon must win a beauty contest for BCS consideration.
“We really are in a six-game playoff,” he [Chip Kelly] says. “… If we lose, we’re out.”
But here’s the thing: In the BCS, the Ducks don’t have to lose to be out.
Kelly is correct, the second half of the season is a playoff. It’s also a horse race. And a beauty contest.
“Perception” isn’t listed anywhere in the BCS formula, but it’s one of the most important ingredients.
Kelly needs to try to control it.
• A beauty contest is one thing but it's still about winning football games. Ted Miller and Steve Brandon are all about winning games to pave the way to the "big game."
• Adam Sparks says that all eyes are on Oregon football, including Donald Duck. While visiting Disneyland, Donald threw up an "O" for Adam (pictured above) who was wearing Duck gear while visiting the amusement park.
• The superlatives, accolades, watch lists and mid-season reports continue to shower the Ducks with love. Sports Illustrated has their All-America team halfway through the season and Oregon players are well represented on it as well as numerous watch lists. Andy Mac has all the details.
• John Canzano thinks the coaching duel today will be interesting to watch after UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel said that he believes someone will eventually solve Oregon's offense and that he hopes it happens Thursday night at Autzen.
Know that Kelly was mildly irked at the Neuheisel assertion. Kelly said of the offense he's honed since 1998, "It's not a gimmick."
• Ken Goe thinks that the game could get gruesome if Oregon disarms the UCLA pistol offense.
• The Armenian Demon has his usual pregame video ready for your viewing pleasure on YouTube.
• Adam Jude has a nice feature story on Josh Huff, who as a true freshmen is playing all over the field.
“I think he’s going to play offensive guard next week,” receivers coach Scott Frost joked.
If asked, Huff probably wouldn’t hesitate to give it a try.
“I just want to help the team any way I can,” said Huff, who turned 19 last Thursday. “If they decide to move me to defense, I’ll play defense.”
• My game prediction: Oregon wins easily 52-10 and will sport a yellow helmet and jersey with black pants.