Oregon has moved to No. 2 in the BCS rankings, and if they stay there, they'll play for the national championship.
I asked UW coach Tyrone Willingham today if that would be a good thing for Pac-10 pride or a bad thing for the University of Washington.
His answer straddled both emotions: "I think it's tough for me to stomach even answering that would be the first thing. But I think our conference would be a tremendous conference and anytime we could have a national champions come out of our conference then it continues a trend that we've had over the last years, having some of the best teams in the country. As how that relates to us, that means we have to step our game up."
However, there also remains a chance that Oregon might not remain in the championship picture even if the Ducks win out... as coach Mike Bellotti knows only too well.
"My history with the BCS is not very good," said Bellotti who believes his 2001 team chould have played for the championship –– but didn't -- and whose 2005 team should have been in one of the BCS bowls -- but wasn't.
"The people in charge (of the BCS system) are trying to make it an equitable system," Bellotti said. "Like I said, I'm not worried. If we win out, we put ourselves in position that people have to consider us."
Other notes from today's Pac-10 coaches conference call, provided by TNT sportswriter Todd Milles:
ARIZONA: The Wildcats late-season surge included a 37-10 victory over Oregon at Autzen Stadium in 2006, but coach Mike Stoops knows this is a completely different matchup. "People want to generalize games, but they are much different," Stoops said. … Washington quarterback Jake Locker rushed for 157 yards against Arizona earlier this season. Stoops said he's "changed the whole game plan" for Oregon's Dennis Dixon, also a running quarterback.
ARIZONA STATE: Kicker Thomas Weber leads the Pac-10 with 94 points, and has made a league-best 19 of 20 field goals. "The week before our first game, he was really hitting it, and he's been unbelievable," coach Dennis Erickson said. "He's hot. He has the stroke." … An MRI was taken Monday on quarterback Rudy Carpenter's sprained right thumb. He also saw a hand specialist after he re-injured it after throwing a touchdown pass Saturday against UCLA. With the team on a bye week, Erickson said he likely won't throw against until Sunday.
STANFORD: Receiver Mark Bradford is coming off a career-best 12 catches for 144 yards, and coach Jim Harbaugh said that is an indication he's finally getting healthy from tendinitis in his left knee. "He's done a good job with his rehab," Harbaugh said. "He's got the chance to play at the next level." … Center Tim Mattran (ankle sprain), lost on the Cardinal's first play of the second half against WSU last week, should be back in two weeks against Notre Dame. … Suspended receiver Richard Sherman (unsportsmanlike conduct against the UW) has been reinstated, and returned to practice Tuesday.
UCLA: Except for a few mistakes that come with experience, quarterback Osaar Rasshan, who made his first start last week in a 24-20 loss to ASU, played well, coach Karl Dorrell said. The team should have Ben Olson (knee) back after the bye week, and available as a backup against Oregon. Dorrell said Olson will practice this week. As for Patrick Cowan (collapsed lung), he's out indefinitely. … Running back Chris Markey (ankle) played sparingly against ASU, but should assume a bigger role against Oregon.
USC: Coach Pete Carroll called Chauncey Washington's 220-yard effort last week at California was the signature performance of his career, but added Washington will still share the tailback job with Joe McKnight and Stafon Johnson. "It was kind of the classic (example) of leaning on the guy who was hot," Carroll said. "Chauncey certain had it." … Quarterback John David Booty (fractured finger) will rest this week to heal up for ASU on Thanksgiving Day. … Carroll said during this bye week, he will rotate as many as 12 younger players, many of them freshmen, with the first unit offenses and defenses, just to get them experience.