Chip Kelly has done a deft job this week of acknowledging the No. 1 ranking without overplaying its importance.
“Does it mean something because we’re up towards the top? Yeah,” he said. “If we were 40th right now, we probably wouldn’t have a chance to go (to the title game).
“But the way this deal’s set up, it’s a playoff system. We’ve got six games left, and if we lose one, we’re out.”
• Ted Miller has his Pac-10 predictions posted and has Oregon as 27 point favorites.
Oregon 44, UCLA 17: I played this game in my head, like, 71 times, and UCLA never won. Maybe I should do it 72, but I'm going with the Ducks. Not a good thing to show up in Autzen Stadium with quarterback questions and no passing game no matter who stands behind center.
• Stephen Alexander at the Portland Tribune says that special teams have made the difference for the Ducks this year.
While the Oregon Ducks offense is putting up astronomical numbers and the defense has been virtually bulletproof in the second half, the special teams' success has been a key factor to the Ducks' 6-0 record and unprecedented, No. 1 ranking.
• Ken Goe thinks it could be a blowout tonight.
The Bruins will be short-handed because of injuries and discipline issues, another reason Oregon might have this one put away early, and the final margin might be -- to use one of UO coach Chip Kelly's words -- ginormous.
• Ted Miller posts his weekly, "What to for in the Pac-10", and he thinks that would be a good chance for Oregon to make a statement.
If the Ducks post a, "Wow," performance, it helps them maintain or even improve their stature. It means, for example, the voters in the Southeast or the flyover states who raise a skeptical eye at Pac-10 football go, "Golly." Don't believe blowing out UCLA won't have traction. You can't argue about how the Bruins physically dominated Texas, which probably isn't going to lose another game in the Big 12. You want pollsters to go, "You know, Auburn/Oklahoma/Boise State is good, but Oregon, man, that team looks good."
• We are heading out to Autzen and our tailgater. I'll be back in the morning with game stories and then my highlight video later in the day.