The stage is set for another huge Pac-12 showdown -- this one between UCLA and Oregon. The Bruins are coming off a 24-10 loss to Stanford, in which they were stifled and stymied on offense, and then pounded into submission, in typical Stanford fashion. Still, that one loss to Stanford does not end their hopes for a successful season just yet -- they could make a big statement in beating Oregon on the road.
Of course, that is no easy feat, and much easier typed than actually done. No team has finished a game with Oregon any closer than 21 points -- the Ducks aren't just beating their opponents, they're steamrolling them in absolute laughers.
Rankings and records: The Ducks -- 2nd in the AP poll and 3rd in the BCS rankings -- have won four straight in this series. UCLA leads overall at 39-26.
Vegas: Oregon opened as a 20-point favorite and the line has moved northward in their favor since then. The over/under opened at 71.
Three names to know
Jim Mora Jr. and Lou Spanos (UCLA head coach and defensive coordinator) - This will be the first time either Mora or Spanos faces the Ducks, as the Bruins ducked Oregon in scheduling last season. The last time the Bruins played Oregon, they lost 49-31 with Rick Neuheisel as head coach. Spanos' 31st-ranked defensive unit will go up against a versatile Oregon squad that is 19th in passing and 2nd in the country in rushing. They also sport as many offensive weapons as they have uniform combinations, in Johnny Mundt, Pharaoh Brown, Byron Marshall, DeAnthony Thomas, Josh Huff and Bralon Addison. Spanos is probably having some long nights this week.
Myles Jack (UCLA linebacker) - One of the best true freshmen in the country, Jack is a tremendously athletic talent, and has started right away for the Bruins. He is third on the team in total tackles and has a team-high seven passes defensed ... as a linebacker.
Tony Washington (Oregon defensive end) - In a conference that sports Anthony Barr, Washington has been sort of lost in the shuffle this season. If the Bruins forget about Washington, though, they will likely pay dearly, especially with such a youthful offensive line -- the junior has nine tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks so far, to go along with three forced fumbles. All three marks are top-five in the Pac-12.
Two things at stake
The Ducks sit third in the BCS rankings, but should jump Florida State if they remain undefeated. In essence, everything is at stake for them in this one -- they control their own destiny in the Pac-12, especially now that Stanford has lost. Oregon also has an added advantage of a conveniently scheduled bye, allowing them to rest up before that huge Nov. 7 visit to Palo Alto.
Arizona State looks like UCLA's only serious competition in the Pac-12 South, and although a loss wouldn't necessarily doom the Bruins, it would be less than ideal for keeping pace with the Sun Devils. The game between those two on November 23rd might end up deciding the division, provided the Bruins don't drop more than one game before then. That will be no small task, though, with this upcoming game against the Ducks and a home date with Washington remaining.
How to witness
TV: 7p.m. ET (4p.m. PT) ESPN (Brent Musburger, Kirk Herbstreit, Heather Cox)