Target on the No. 2 Ducks in the Pac-12

Associated Press Modified: October 12, 2012 at 1:33 pm •  Published: October 12, 2012
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"I would say off the top of my head, just from watching their scores and the game (against Washington) the other night, their defense is probably the best it has been, even with losing their safety, and their offense just continues to plug people, it doesn't matter who it is," Kiffin said.

"There's a reason they're No. 2 in the country," Kiffin added.

Sarkisian singled out Oregon redshirt freshman Marcus Mariota, who follows a string of mobile quarterbacks from Dennis Dixon to Jeremiah Masoli to Darron Thomas. Mariota is tied (with USC's Matt Barkley) for the most touchdown passes in the Pac-12 with 15. He's thrown five interceptions. His passing efficiency rating is 156.42, 21st in the nation.

"None of them had the speed that Marcus has. That's been one of the biggest differences in preparing for them and the ultimately seeing them live and in person," Sarkisian said. "His ability to escape and his ability to create is much different than the last guys."

Mike Leach, the new coach of Washington State, also had a firsthand look at the Ducks. The Cougars lost 51-26. Before that, Oregon blanked Arizona 49-0.

Leach was asked this week about the ongoing speculation about Oregon's postseason chances on the national stage. The Ducks played in the BCS title game two seasons ago but lost 22-19 to Auburn.

"They're real well-coached; they're quick," Leach said. "I don't know that they're as physical as some other teams that might be in the conversation."

But before all of that, the Ducks have Arizona State (5-1, 3-0) which sits atop the Pac-12's South Division. The Sun Devils defeated Colorado 51-17 on Thursday night at Folsom Field before next Thursday's game at home against the Ducks.

"I can tell you for the last week and a half I've been watching Oregon every day. It's hard not to do that especially when everyone keeps asking you about it," Graham said. "I will tell you that our players didn't look at Oregon at all. ... It's hard to get guys up for every game but you got to, you got to get up for every single week and it won't be hard to get them up this week."