EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Back at the start of the season, Oregon's game at USC was circled on lots of calendars.
It appeared at the time to be the marquee matchup of the Pac-12 season, as well as a possible preview of the league championship game, with the Trojans entering the season ranked No. 1 in the preseason poll and Oregon ranked fifth.
Adding to the anticipation was USC's 38-35 upset victory over the Ducks at Autzen Stadium last season.
Eight weeks later, the shine is off the game a bit. USC has lost two games, including a 39-36 loss at Arizona last weekend, and fallen to No. 18 in the AP rankings.
Undefeated Oregon has climbed to No. 2 and has taken aim at a second national championship berth in three seasons. The Ducks are leading the nation with an average of 53.38 points per game. Their vaunted offense is ranked third with an average of 331 yards rushing and seventh in total offense with 540 yards on average.
Oregon hasn't dropped a game since that loss to the Trojans last season, a string of 11 straight victories.
So it follows that the Ducks (8-0, 5-0 Pac-12) are favored to win Saturday night's game in Los Angeles.
But don't count out USC just yet, warned Colorado coach Jon Embree, who has seen both teams.
"With a team like that, you'd rather play them after a win than a loss," Embree said. "They're going to come out fighting and with a different sense of purpose."
Colorado is the most recent team to fall to the Ducks, losing 70-14 last weekend at Autzen Stadium. The Buffaloes, with just one win this season, really never stood a chance with Oregon leading 56-0 at the half and eventually piling up 617 yards in total offense.
Earlier in the season, the Buffaloes lost to the Trojans 50-6 in Los Angeles. USC quarterback Matt Barkley tied his school record by throwing for six touchdowns.
Washington coach Steve Sarkisian, whose Huskies have also faced both teams — and also lost to both in back-to-back weeks — wasn't willing to pick a winner.
"I think it will be a good game," Sarkisian said. "I think they're different in their style and their approaches. But they're both good teams, both well-coached. It will be a fun game to watch."
USC's loss to the Wildcats changed the tone of the season for the Trojans, who were picked in the preseason to win the conference championship and now sit at 6-2 overall and 4-2 in the conference.