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  • COLLEGE FOOTBALL

    All eyes on Autzen this weekend

    Pac-12 championship contest could be finalized after Stanford-Oregon game
  • EUGENE — All the outside indicators would point to a big game in Eugene on Saturday.
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    • CIVIL WAR LUNCHEON
      WHEN, WHERE: Tuesday, Nov. 20, 11:30 a.m., Rogue Valley Country Club.
      TICKETS: Cost $15 and must be ordered in advance. Oregon fans call Monica at 541-840-3618 or email her at monica.garvin@prem...
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      CIVIL WAR LUNCHEON
      WHEN, WHERE: Tuesday, Nov. 20, 11:30 a.m., Rogue Valley Country Club.

      TICKETS: Cost $15 and must be ordered in advance. Oregon fans call Monica at 541-840-3618 or email her at monica.garvin@premierwestbank.com. Oregon State fans email Reena at reena.bernardo@helpmecore.com
  • EUGENE — All the outside indicators would point to a big game in Eugene on Saturday.
    ABC selected the matchup at Autzen Stadium between Oregon and Stanford for a prime-time telecast, with kickoff at 5 p.m. The ESPN "College GameDay" pregame show will originate from Eugene.
    And the Pac-12 office will certainly be watching because the conference title game, set for Nov. 30, could be finalized by results Saturday.
    All the attention was increased Sunday after Oregon rose to No. 1 in the Associated Press, USA Today coaches and Harris polls, and to No. 2 behind Kansas State in the Bowl Championship Series standings.
    "It means absolutely nothing if we don't go out and win this Saturday," UO coach Chip Kelly said of the Ducks being No. 1 among voters. "I'm aware it's out there, but it doesn't take away from our preparation."
    There are some tangible stakes on this week's game. A win Saturday gives the Ducks the division crown and the right to host the Pac-12 title game for the second consecutive year.
    "That doesn't change anything for us," Kelly insisted during his Sunday teleconference.
    It's still one day at a time, one game at a time, even if the Ducks are No. 1 in the polls, though No. 2 in the BCS largely because the six computer ratings used by the BCS rank Oregon fourth.
    In the Associated Press voting by the media, Oregon was first on 45 of 60 ballots, and second on the other 15. The Ducks are No. 1 for the second time in school history, after a seven-week stretch of 2010.
    It was a similar story in the USA Today coaches poll, in which No. 1 Oregon got 44 of 59 first-place votes, Kansas State got 14 and Notre Dame received one. The Ducks were No. 1 according to the coaches for eight weeks back in 2010.
    In addition, the Harris poll, which like the coaches' voting counts for one-third of the BCS standings, had Oregon No. 1, with the Ducks receiving 90 votes for first from the 115 voters.
    One challenge for the Ducks against Stanford and to stay atop the polls will be the mounting injuries on defense. Linemen Ricky Heimuli (knee), Isaac Remington (lower leg) and Dion Jordan (shoulder) were in uniform for the California game and on the sidelines though they didn't play, possibly an indication they could have played in an emergency and could be back for the Stanford game.
    Lineman Taylor Hart (ankle) was injured during the game and wasn't in pads for the second half; safety Avery Patterson (knee) was knocked out in the first half and consoled by teammates, who talked after the game as though he was lost for the rest of the season.
    "Avery was like, 'It's on y'all now, it's on y'all.' And I saw that he meant that," fellow safety Brian Jackson said.
    "So for him to get his treatment, get what his diagnosis was and then come back out on the field and cheer us on, that let us know that Avery is still with us.
    "He doesn't want us to fall down just because he's out of the game. He wants us to stay at a high level of play."
    There were also a couple of injuries on offense, though quarterback Marcus Mariota returned after taking a hit on a run as did running back Kenjon Barner, who had a splint on his right thumb after the game.
    Whatever happened to Mariota didn't seem to affect his performance as he completed 27 of 34 passes for 377 yards and six touchdowns against Cal. Mariota has as many touchdown throws as incompletions — 10 each — over the last two weeks.
    "What he's done is not a surprise to anyone who's been around him," Kelly said.
    That performance has moved Mariota moved up to No. 1 nationally in pass efficiency, with a 176.96 rating. The FBS freshman record is 180.4, by Michael Vick of Virginia Tech in 1999.
    The conference record is 175.0 by Rudy Carpenter of Arizona State in 2005, and the Oregon record is 167.3 by Akili Smith in 1998.
    Mariota is completing 71.71 percent of his passes, ahead of the FBS freshman record of 69.5 set by Sam Bradford of Oklahoma in 2007.
    Colt McCoy of Texas set the overall record of 76.7 in 2008. The conference record is 71.3 by Stanford's Andrew Luck last season, and the Oregon mark is 67.7 by Dennis Dixon in 2007.
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