'Now we control our own destiny'
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) Oregon found itself trailing in the Pac-12 North race after losing to Stanford two weeks ago, but kept playing hard, hoping for another opportunity to earn a spot in the conference championship game.
That chance came last weekend.
Shortly after the fifth-ranked Ducks rolled over Utah, Southern California knocked off Stanford. Just like that, Oregon was back on top of the division, controlling its fate in a bid for a second trip to the Pac-12 title game in three years.
"It's one of those deals where you just have to control what you can control," Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota said. "It just happened that Stanford lost and now we control our own destiny. But really it's just one game at a time like we always take it."
The next one is against Arizona.
The Ducks (9-1, 6-1 Pac-12) are heavy favorites, but it's a dangerous game.
The Wildcats (6-4, 3-4) have one of the fastest-snapping offenses in the country just a notch behind Oregon and one of the nation's top running backs in Ka'Deem Carey, an All-American last season who's second nationally with 150 yards per game.
Arizona will be playing with a sense of urgency, too.
While the Wildcats are bowl eligible, they've lost their past two games, both at home and both games they could have won.
The first, against UCLA, Arizona had trouble getting out of its own way and couldn't stop Myles Jack, a freshman linebacker taking his first turn at running back for the Bruins. The Wildcats followed that up with an even more disappointing loss, 24-17 to a Washington State team that had lost its previous three games by a combined score of 162-83.
Arizona also has the added incentive of playing its final home game against one of the nation's elite programs, so the Wildcats should be up for this one.
"It's a huge game, just to try to get some national respect and it being our seniors' last home game," Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said. "I'm probably over the top on that. I want them to really enjoy their last home game."