EUGENE — Josh Huff will play the Alamo Bowl with a Texas-sized chip on his shoulder.
Oregon's standout senior wide receiver, who grew up in Houston dreaming of wearing the white and burnt orange, was snubbed by the Longhorns during the recruiting process.
Even though Houston and TCU offered Huff a chance to shine in the Lone Star State, it was time to blaze an Oregon trail.
"If I didn't get offered (a scholarship) by Texas, I didn't want to be in Texas," Huff said after Saturday's practice. "For them to say I wasn't good enough and to overlook me, they really made me mad. I'm not the only guy."
Huff wants to make sure the Ducks are also motivated to beat the coach and the program that didn't make room for him.
"With us not playing in a BCS game and me playing against Texas, a school that turned me down, it carries a lot of motivation, a lot of things to prove to them guys," Huff said of Oregon's practice on Saturday. "I'm taking it personally. I don't know how everyone else feels about it, but this is a game I've been waiting for.
"I always hoped to play Texas in college. Now that I have the opportunity, I have to make the most of it."
Huff's comments last month about not wanting to play in the Rose Bowl unless it was for the national championship game were not well received by Oregon's coaching staff or fan base. But the senior did his best to atone for the verbal misstep by catching three touchdowns, including the game winner, against Oregon State.
The Ducks are saying all the right things about playing in the Alamo Bowl after the program's streak of four consecutive BCS bowls was snapped.
"It's a new day. We said some stuff in the past that we probably shouldn't have said and went about it in some ways we probably shouldn't have went about it," Byron Marshall said.
"We were just living in the moment, and that's all we can do right now is live in the moment, which is looking forward to playing Texas in the Alamo Bowl. Yeah, we're very excited about that."
Marshall, who missed the end of the loss at Arizona and the entire Oregon State game with a sprained ankle, said he will be ready to play against Texas.
Respect for Mack
Before the Civil War, Nick Aliotti said if the Ducks won 10 games, they would win 11. That doesn't mean the loquacious defensive coordinator is guaranteeing a victory in the Alamo Bowl.
"That was just me trying to get the guys fired up. Now I'm not going to back up that comment because I think that would put us in a bad spot," Aliotti said. "I think I was making that statement purely because I wanted the guys to understand that we had a chance to win 10 games, which is really a good thing last time I checked.
And if we win 10, we have a chance to win 11."
Aliotti watched from afar as Brown's future, reputation and legacy were questioned throughout the 2013 season. In 16 seasons in Austin, the Texas coach has 158 victories and a national championship.
"I have a lot of respect for Mack Brown, and he's an absolute stud having to go through what he's going through right now," Aliotti said. "An absolute stud. I take my hat off to him."
Nine teams from the Pac-12 will play in bowl games and all of them are favored to win. However, Stanford (Rose Bowl) is the only program representing the conference in a lucrative BCS game this year.
"I've been in the conference a long time and I think it's the best it has ever been," Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said. "It's unfortunate that we kind of ate our own, so to speak, and a bunch of other conferences ended up with two BCS games. But the conference is deep."
The Pac-12 is also stealing coaches from one another. USC hired Steve Sarkisian away from Washington since the end of the regular season; the Huskies were able to lure Chris Petersen to Seattle from Boise State.
"That's weird," Helfrich said of having Petersen, a former Oregon staff member, coaching the rival Huskies. "He's a great friend and that won't change."