UO NOTES: Is Snoop Dogg gonna be in the house? Can pass-happy USC thrash the UO defense? Is talk of LSU rematch premature?
A lot of people are talking about an LSU-Oregon rematch in the BCS national championship game.
The Ducks still have to get by USC, 5 p.m. Saturday at Autzen Stadium.
Oregon has dominated the Trojans the past two years, but the West Coast's preeminent program has been building with young players under coach Lane Kiffin, and USC enters the UO contest winners of five of the past six games - the only loss in triple overtime to Stanford.
"It's a moot point if you don't take care of business," says UO coach Chip Kelly, of a return trip to the BCS title game and a possible return engagement with the Tigers, who beat the Ducks 40-27 to start the season.
The BCS talk doesn't bother Kelly?
"Does it annoy me? No," he says.
Although, the coach will warn his players of all the BCS questions they will be getting before the end of the season.
The Ducks moved to No. 4 in the BCS standings on Sunday, behind unbeatens LSU and Oklahoma State and one-loss Alabama, and one spot ahead of one-loss Oklahoma.
• USC quarterback Matt Barkley has already given UO some bulletin-board material, offering to reporters after the Trojans thrashed Washington: "Oregon's very good this year, but I think they were better when we played them in the past."
The Ducks won 53-32 last year in Los Angeles and 47-20 in Eugene in 2009.
• USC has been known for its running backs.
But these Trojans (8-2, 5-2 Pac-12) are pass-happy with Barkley and receivers Robert Woods and Marqise Lee.
The junior Barkley has thrown 29 TD passes, with only six interceptions. He's averaging 278 yards per game on 66.8 percent passing.
Sophomore Woods has a league-best 92 pass receptions - the best by 14 catches - for 1,126 yards and 11 TDs. True freshman Lee has 52 receptions for 732 yards and eight scores.
"The best 1-2 (receiving) punch in the conference," Kelly says.
The UO coach hopes playing against the likes of Stanford's Andrew Luck and Arizona's Nick Foles has prepared the Ducks' defense to face Barkley and his skill guys.
"To see them throw the ball around is very, very impressive," Kelly adds.
Three other things about USC's offense: The Trojans have given up a league-low six sacks (then again, Stanford had the league-low in sacks before playing the Ducks); the Trojans rank second in the league in third-down conversion percentage at 46.9 percent (then again, Stanford ranks first, and managed only 5 of 14 against the Ducks); and Curtis McNeal has 787 yards rushing and five scores (or just 144 more yards and three fewer touchdowns than UO's backup running back, Kenjon Barner).
"Our guys will be tested," Kelly says, of the UO defense.
• USC's youth extends to the defensive side, where freshmen linebackers Dion Bailey and Hayes Pullard are the leading tacklers, and where junior defensive lineman Nick Perry (7.5 sacks leads Pac-12, 11.0 tackles for loss ranks second) and junior T. J. McDonald star. Kelly, whose team features John Boyett at free safety, calls the 6-3, 205 McDonald "probably the best safety in the conference," although McDonald was tested for a concussion after the UW game.
• Overall, Kelly says of the Trojans: "I think they're the most talented team in our league."
• The Ducks pulled a surprise when they landed De'Anthony Thomas from Los Angeles' Crenshaw High before the February signing day, much to the chagrin of the Trojans.
The dynamic Thomas has 13 touchdowns, which leads freshmen in the Football Bowl Subdivision, and he'll certainly be center stage this week when stories appear in print, online and on television because of his background in Los Angeles and turning his back on the Trojans.
Which begs the question: Is his mentor going to be in attendance Saturday?
Thomas grew up playing in a youth league run by Snoop Dogg, the rapper who nicknamed Thomas the "Black Mamba." Thomas and Snoop's son have been friends.
Kelly deadpanned in answering the Snoop Dogg question with "I have no idea."
• USC's Andre Heidari has the most points among Pac-12 kickers with 81, on 14 of 16 field goals and 39 of 39 extra-points.