Duck fans show their support for Oregon quarterback Bo Nix and coach Dan Lanning during the game against Oregon State.

AP Top 25: Oregon hits No. 5, Ohio State falls to No. 6

Ohio State’s loss to Michigan sent the Buckeyes plummeting four spots to No. 6, making room for Oregon to move into the first five of the Associated Press Top 25 poll, released Sunday.

Georgia held the No. 1 spot for the 24th straight week, gaining 52 of 62 first-place votes. The other 10 votes went to Michigan, who defeated Ohio State 30-24 and rose one place to No. 2.

Washington moved to No. 3, with Florida State also climbing one rung to No. 4.

The top four teams all are 12-0.

Georgia, Michigan, Florida State and Washington all have cemented berths in their respective conference championship games. The Huskies will meet No. 5 Oregon (11-1) in the Pac-12 title game Friday at Las Vegas.

This is the first time the Pac-12, which is set to disband after this season as 10 teams defect to other leagues, had two teams in the top five since the last ranking of the 2016 season.

The College Football Playoff committee ultimately determines the four teams that will compete for the national championship, and its latest rankings will be unveiled on Tuesday.

Following No. 6 Ohio State are two other 11-1 teams — No. 7 Texas and No. 8 Alabama.

No. 9 Missouri and No. 10 Penn State, both 10-2, round out the top 10.

With a loss to Kentucky, Louisville fell out of the top 10 and dropped six places to No. 15. That allowed No. 11 Ole Miss to move up one place, followed by Oklahoma, LSU and Arizona.

Also dropping six spots was No. 21 Oregon State, which lost 31-7 to Oregon.

Out of the Top 25 this week are Kansas State and Tennessee. They were replaced by No. 21 North Carolina State and No. 25 SMU.

–Field Level Media

Nov 24, 2023; Eugene, Oregon, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Bo Nix (10) throws a pass during the first half against the Oregon State Beavers at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

No. 6 Oregon crushes No. 16 Oregon St. for spot in Pac-12 title game

Heisman Trophy candidate Bo Nix completed 33 of 40 passes for 367 yards with a pair of touchdown passes and a rushing touchdown, and the No. 6 Oregon Ducks had much to celebrate on their home field in Eugene, Ore., after their 31-7 win over No. 16 Oregon State on Friday.

The game could mark the Ducks’ final rivalry game against the Beavers for some time, gives them a spot in the last Pac-12 Championship game, and furthers their bid for a place in the College Football Playoff.

Oregon (11-1) won its sixth straight game and finished 8-1 in the Pac-12.

Oregon State (8-4, 5-4) managed just 273 yards of total offense, including 53 on the ground after what had been a successful rushing attack all season.

Oregon’s offense has often been a quick-strike unit this season, but on Friday, the Ducks chewed time off the clock with two lengthy touchdown drives in the first half.

Nix set the Ducks’ single-season completions record with his 305th of the season, a third-quarter pass to Troy Franklin for 17 yards.

The Oregon defense was determined to not allow the Beavers to trample on them the way Oregon State did with its running game in last season’s matchup in Corvallis, which the Beavers won 38-34. The Ducks held the Pac-12’s second-leading rusher, Damien Martinez, to 38 yards.

Oregon scored 10 points off two fourth-down stops in the game, the first being a Nix 16-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, making the score 14-0, and the second a 25-yard field goal for Camden Lewis in the third quarter.

Oregon State got as close as 14-7 with DJ Uiagalelei’s 9-yard touchdown pass to Silas Bolden in the second quarter, but Oregon answered with a fast touchdown. Nix needed just 40 seconds to get the Ducks down the field and throw a 41-yard touchdown pass to Franklin eight seconds before halftime.

Oregon sealed the win and a rematch with Washington in the Pac-12 Championship game with a 1-yard touchdown run by Jordan James early in the fourth quarter, followed shortly thereafter by Dontae Manning’s interception of Uiagalelei in the end zone.

The future of one of the fourth-oldest college football rivalries in the U.S., with 127 meetings between the two teams, is in doubt. Oregon moves to the Big Ten next season while Oregon State is headed toward playing as an independent if it doesn’t join another conference.

–Field Level Media

Nov 18, 2023; Corvallis, Oregon, USA; Oregon State Beavers running back Damien Martinez (6) runs the ball during the third quarter against the Washington Huskies at Reser Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Craig Strobeck-USA TODAY Sports

No. 16 Oregon St. eager to play spoiler vs. No. 6 Oregon

The game that used to be known locally as the Civil War has the potential to be an epic battle, not just for bragging rights in the state of Oregon, but also for a spot in what could be the last Pac-12 championship game ever.

No. 6 Oregon can punch its ticket to the title game to face fourth-ranked Washington, but No. 16 Oregon State will look to spoil its rival’s plans on Friday in Eugene, Ore., before 10 teams from the conference move elsewhere.

Oregon (10-1, 7-1 Pac-12), headed to the Big Ten next season, also harbors dreams of getting into the College Football Playoff, but it needs a win on Friday and another in the Pac-12 title game to be considered.

Both teams’ coaches hope the rivalry can continue beyond 2023.

“Games like this are really important,” Ducks coach Dan Lanning said. “And it would be great if that’s something we could make happen and continue to make happen. I know everybody on our end would love to see that continue.”

Oregon State’s Jonathan Smith was part of the rivalry game as a player and now as a coach. He guided the Beavers (8-3, 5-3) to last season’s 38-34 upset of the Ducks when his team was ranked No. 21 and its in-state rival was ranked ninth, knocking Oregon out of the Pac-12 championship game.

Smith said a continuation of the rivalry would be a “good thing.”

“Living in this state for multiple years, there’s emotion and pride. If you win this game, you get to talk about it for a full year,” Smith said. “The intensity and emotions that come with it is a cool thing about college football.”

Oregon’s offense has been clicking all season with Heisman Trophy candidate Bo Nix at quarterback.

Nix, who has the most career starts in NCAA history (58), leads the nation with a 78.1 completion percentage, is second in passing touchdowns (35), third in passing yards per game (321.7) and fourth in total offense (333.4 yards per game).

Nix tied a school record with six touchdown passes last Saturday in a 49-13 win at Arizona State, and he has at least four touchdown passes in three straight games. All six of his scoring throws against the Sun Devils came in the first half.

His favorite target has been wide receiver Troy Franklin, who leads the Pac-12 with 1,221 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns. Franklin’s yardage total is a single-season Oregon record.

Oregon State has lost two of its past four games to drop out of conference title contention, including a 22-20 loss at home to Washington last Saturday. The Beavers rely on a punishing ground attack, led by Damien Martinez and his 1,147 rushing yards. Martinez has six rushing touchdowns over his past two games.

Clemson transfer DJ Uiagalelei has thrown for 20 touchdowns against six interceptions while completing 57.5 percent of his passes for 2,418 yards.

Oregon leads the all-time series with a 67-49-10 record, but Oregon State has won two of the past three.

–Field Level Media

Oregon head coach Dan Lanning sticks his tongue out to catch the rain as the No. 6 Oregon Ducks host California Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023, at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore.

Oregon’s Dan Lanning on rumored A&M interest: ‘Zero chance’

Oregon football coach Dan Lanning halted the rumor mill connecting him to high-paying vacancies on Monday in far more certain terms than most in his position.

“I think I’ve been really, really clear here since Day 1. I’m not going anywhere,” Lanning said Monday night at his weekly press briefing. “There’s zero chance that I would be coaching somewhere else. I’ve got unfinished business here.

“There’s a lot I want to accomplish here at Oregon. My No. 1 priority is being elite here at Oregon. We have the resources, the tools — anybody that can’t understand why you would want to be here at this place doesn’t understand exactly what exists here.”

Lanning was rumored to be the top target of Texas A&M, which is on the hook for more than $75 million to buy out the remaining contract of coach Jimbo Fisher.

He was also mentioned for Mississippi State, which fired coach Zach Arnett on Monday.

“I’ll continue to say it until I’m blue in the face. I want to be here at Oregon. That hasn’t changed, that won’t change,” Lanning said.

Currently No. 6 in the CFP rankings, Oregon is 9-1 and will find out with the latest release of the playoff pecking order on Tuesday just how much work it has left to be in position to be playing in January. That matter is more likely to be decided in the Pac-12 Conference championship game against Washington if the Ducks take care of remaining games: at Arizona State this week and then vs. Oregon State in the annual day-after-Thanksgiving rivalry game.

In the meantime, other high-profile jobs are likely to become available and Lanning’s name might be mentioned. He repeated that the appeal isn’t there to entice him to depart Eugene.

“I’m taken care of extremely well here at Oregon,” he said. “I have the resources I need here at Oregon to be really, really successful. I’m not motivated by that. I’m motivated by winning. I’m motivated by being elite here. Our players deserve my complete focus. Our fans deserve the best product on the field.”

–Field Level Media

Oregon outside linebacker Teitum Tuioti sacks USC quarterback Caleb Williams as the No. 6 Oregon Ducks host the USC Trojans Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023, at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore.

Bo Nix, No. 6 Oregon fend off Caleb Williams, USC

Bo Nix passed for a season-high 412 yards and threw four touchdowns, and No. 6 Oregon held off Southern California’s late rally for a 36-27 win on Saturday in Eugene, Ore.

The Ducks (9-1, 6-1 Pac-12) built a 22-point lead early in the fourth quarter when Bucky Irving ran for 19 of his game-high 118 rushing yards on a touchdown carry.

USC (7-4, 5-3) battled back when Caleb Williams found Brenden Rice for a 9-yard touchdown to cap a 75-yard drive. A missed field-goal attempt by Oregon’s Camden Lewis gave the Trojans possession, and Austin Jones capped a 77-yard drive with a 13-yard touchdown run.

Williams’ cross-field throw on USC’s two-point conversion attempt following Jones’ touchdown was completed, but short of the goal line, and Oregon successfully ran out the clock thanks to a pair of Irving first-down conversions.

The Ducks jumped ahead early with first-half touchdowns on Nix passes of 77 yards to Tez Johnson, 84 yards to Troy Franklin and 15 yards to Terrance Ferguson.

Johnson caught a game-high seven passes for 126 yards. Franklin recorded a game-high 147 yards on just two catches, hauling in a 63-yard reception in the second quarter that helped set up a 33-yard Lewis field goal.

Evan Williams paced the Ducks defense with nine tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and a pass breakup.

Oregon remains in control of its destiny for a Pac-12 championship game berth and consideration for the College Football Playoff. The Ducks were the highest-ranked one-loss team in Tuesday’s poll reveal.

USC, meanwhile, was effectively eliminated from conference-title contention with its third Pac-12 loss.

Williams, the Trojans’ reigning Heisman Trophy winner, went 19-for-34 passing for 291 yards, throwing the touchdown pass to Rice and running for another score. USC finished with just 73 total rushing yards, despite getting touchdowns on the ground from Jones, Williams and MarShawn Lloyd.

–Field Level Media

Nov 4, 2023; Eugene, Oregon, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Bo Nix (10) throws a pass during the second half against the California Golden Bears at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

With Pac-12 title game in sight, No. 6 Oregon welcomes USC

Sixth-ranked Oregon will try to move one game closer to reaching its fourth Pac-12 championship game in five seasons when it welcomes visiting Southern California to Eugene, Ore., on Saturday.

The Ducks (8-1, 5-1) held firm at No. 6 in the College Football Playoff rankings released Tuesday, tops among all one-loss teams. They roll into Saturday’s matchup winners of three straight, all by at least 14 points, after last week’s 63-19 blowout of Cal.

Quarterback Bo Nix enters the game a rising candidate for the Heisman Trophy with 2,723 yards on 235-of-301 passing with 25 touchdowns against just two interceptions.

Nix has also rushed for five touchdowns to pace the nation’s most prolific scoring offense at 47.4 points per game. USC is second in the nation at 45.5 ppg.

The Trojans (7-3, 5-2) have scored no fewer than 32 points in any of their conference games behind reigning Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams.

Williams went 27 of 35 for 312 yards with three touchdowns and rushed for another score last week vs. Washington, but the USC defense surrendered a season high in points for the second time in as many weeks in a 52-42 loss.

The Trojans gave up 49 points a week prior in a one-point win at Cal and come into Oregon having allowed at least 41 points in five of their last six outings.

USC’s defensive struggles led to the dismissal of coordinator Alex Grinch on Sunday. Defensive line coach Shaun Nua and inside linebackers coach Brian Odom were promoted to co-defensive coordinators to replace Grinch.

“Any time you have a situation like this, you start to look at, OK, who would be the next man up, the same way that you would an injured player,” USC head coach Lincoln Riley said on his weekly radio show appearance on Monday. “(Nua and Odom) both have great experience coaching their positions.”

The new co-defensive coordinators face a considerable task for the Trojans’ final two games. USC has allowed 34.5 points per game, more than any other power-conference team save Cal.

In last week’s loss — which put the Trojans in a must-win position this week to salvage any hope of making the Pac-12 championship game — USC gave up 256 rushing yards and four touchdowns to Washington’s Dillon Johnson.

Oregon, meanwhile, boasts one of the conference’s top ball carriers in Bucky Irving. He averages 91.2 rushing yards per game, has scored nine touchdowns on the ground and gains an average of 6.9 yards per carry.

Saturday will not be an Oregon team’s first time seeing an Odom-coordinated defense. Ducks coach Dan Lanning noted that Odom called the defense in Oklahoma’s 47-32 Alamo Bowl win over Oregon in December 2021, prior to Lanning’s arrival. Odom took over play-calling duties for that game after Grinch left to follow Riley to Los Angeles.

“There will be a lot of similarities to some of the stuff they already do,” Lanning said during his Monday news conference. “That group will probably have some new wrinkles we potentially haven’t seen. But it all comes back to what football’s all about: tackling, blocking, breaking tackles, making catches.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 4, 2023; Eugene, Oregon, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Bo Nix (10) throws a pass during the second half against the California Golden Bears at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Bo Nix, No. 6 Oregon blast Cal

Bo Nix passed for four touchdowns and rushed for two to lead No. 6 Oregon to a solid 63-19 victory over Cal on Saturday in Pac-12 play at Eugene, Ore.

Tez Johnson recorded career bests of 12 receptions for 180 yards and two touchdowns for the Ducks (8-1, 5-1 Pac-12). Troy Franklin, Terrance Ferguson and Traeshon Holden also caught touchdown passes and Bucky Irving and Jordan James added rushing scores.

Jaydn Ott rushed for 93 yards and a touchdown and Nohl Williams returned a fumble for a score for the Golden Bears (3-6, 1-5), who lost their fourth straight game. Fernando Mendoza completed 18 of 34 passes for 177 yards and one interception.

Nix completed 29 of 38 passes for 386 yards and one interception for the Ducks, who won their third straight game. Irving accumulated 117 scrimmage yards (89 rushing, 28 receiving) as Oregon outgained the Golden Bears 597-286.

The Ducks have won 13 of the past 15 meetings between the teams.

Ott scored on a 20-yard run early in the third quarter to cut the Golden Bears’ deficit to 35-19.

Five-plus minutes later, Irving scored from the Cal 6 to push the Oregon lead back to 23.

Later in the quarter, Cal’s Jaivian Thomas fumbled and Oregon’s Evan Williams recovered at his own 1-yard line with 4:05 left in the quarter.

The Ducks then drove 99 yards on 10 plays with Nix tossing a 4-yard touchdown pass to Ferguson to make it 49-19 with 14:11 remaining in the contest.

Four-plus minutes later, James scored on a 16-yard run, and backup quarterback Ty Thompson tossed a 6-yard scoring pass to Holden with 2:26 remaining to complete the scoring.

Johnson had nine receptions for 115 yards and two touchdowns in a first half that ended with the Ducks holding a 35-13 advantage.

His first scoring catch was a 48-yarder from Nix with seven minutes left in the opening quarter. Just over two minutes later, Nix scored on the ground from the 1 to give the Ducks a 14-0 lead.

The Golden Bears answered with 10 points in just seven seconds.

Mateen Bhaghani got Cal on the board with a 43-yard field goal with 1:39 left in the first. On Oregon’s next play, Johnson was running in motion to the right, the shotgun snap hit him and the ball bounded toward the Ducks’ end zone. Nohl Williams then picked it up and scooted 9 yards for the touchdown.

The Golden Bears moved within 14-13 on Bhaghani’s 27-yard field goal with 11:28 left in the first half.

Oregon answered with three touchdowns over the final 5:21 of the half. Nix scored from the 1 and tossed touchdown passes of 14 yards to Johnson and 7 to Franklin for a 22-point halftime lead.

–Field Level Media

Oct 28, 2023; Pasadena, California, USA; UCLA Bruins tight end Moliki Matavao (88) celebrates after scoring on a 26-yard touchdown reception against the Colorado Buffaloes in the second half at Rose Bowl. UCLA defeated Colorado 28-16. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

UCLA, Washington to travel cross-country twice in 2024 Big Ten schedule

UCLA and Washington football will rack up frequent flyer miles in their first season in the Big Ten.

The Big Ten on Thursday released its football schedule for 2024, its first year as an 18-team league thanks to the additions of UCLA, Southern California, Oregon and Washington from the Pac-12.

Maryland’s home game against Michigan State on Sept. 7 will mark the first Big Ten game of the season, while Southern California will make its league debut on the road at Michigan on Sept. 21.

The Bruins — who fly to Hawaii and LSU in their nonconference schedule — will host Indiana on Sept. 14 for their first Big Ten game. But they’ll head to the East Coast twice in three weeks during October to face Penn State (Oct. 5) and Rutgers (Oct. 19).

Washington’s travel schedule is only slightly less taxing. The Huskies’ first Big Ten game comes Sept. 21 against Northwestern, but they will visit Rutgers on Sept. 28 and return east to face Penn State on Nov. 9.

The league ensured with its “Flex Protect XVIII” schedule model that 12 annual rivalries were protected. Also, teams based in the Eastern and Central time zones get to either play a home game or take a bye week after traveling to one of the four new West Coast teams for a game.

The Oregon-Washington game was added to rivalry weekend, taking place on Nov. 30. The same won’t be true for USC-UCLA because USC is hosting Notre Dame for its regular-season finale on Nov. 30. The California rivals will play Nov. 23 instead, and UCLA moved a nonconference game against Fresno State to Nov. 30 to accommodate.

–Field Level Media

Oct 28, 2023; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Bo Nix (10) drops back to pass against the Utah Utes during the first half at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Creveling-USA TODAY Sports

Conference championship futures: No-brainer bets for Big Ten, Pac-12

The calendar has flipped to November, and it’s time to call our shots on the relative betting value featuring conference championships.

We have our top choices for three conference title-game winners, including what we believe is a Big Ten no-brainer.

CONFERENCE FUTURE BET NO. 1: The American Athletic Conference

Two schools, Tulane (ranked 24th in the first College Football Playoff rankings) and SMU, have led the AAC this season and are ranked among the top 50 college teams on the Action Network’s betting power rankings.

The seemingly inseparable pair are on a collision course to meet in the conference championship game, to be held Dec. 2 at the site of the regular-season champ.

SMU (6-2, 4-0 AAC) looks to exit the conference in style. The Mustangs will join the Atlantic Coast Conference next season.

Tulane (7-1, 4-0) won last season’s championship game over UCF and defeated Southern California 46-45 in the Cotton Bowl.

Can anyone stop the Green Wave? We believe SMU has the capability to do so.

The Mustangs have scored 189 points and surrendered only 36 through four AAC games. And they’re not the favorites to win the conference.

Tulane (+150 BetMGM) is the current betting choice. And there wasn’t a better story down the stretch of last season.

These teams are not scheduled to meet during the regular season, but the likely matchup in the title game could well be worth the wait.

The value, however, lies with SMU at +170.

The bet: SMU +170 to win the AAC title game.

CONFERENCE FUTURES BET NO. 2: The Pac-12 Conference

Oregon lost 36-33 to Washington in Seattle, but the Ducks are playing like the conference’s best team right now.

The Huskies struggled to beat Arizona State and Stanford, while the Ducks crushed Utah last week.

Oregon finishes its regular-season schedule with three of four games at home, beginning with Cal on Saturday in Eugene, Ore.

Oregon, the College Football Playoff committee’s No. 6 team, sits behind No. 5 Washington because of that Oct. 14 loss. But momentum is running rampant after the Ducks (7-1, 4-1 Pac-12) trounced the Utes 35-6 last weekend in Salt Lake City. Utah had won 18 straight home games.

Although Oregon, ranked No. 3 on the Action Network power rankings behind only Georgia and Michigan, is the betting favorite to take the conference title game, the number (+110 at FanDuel and BetMGM) is a value.

The Ducks should be the betting favorite in the championship game in Las Vegas, so the current plus-money would be a nice price to be carrying on Dec. 2.

The bet: Oregon +110 to win the Pac-12 title game.

CONFERENCE FUTURES BET NO. 3: The Big Ten Conference

This will be short and sweet.

There are two schools that can win the Big Ten title, but only one will play in the conference championship game.

Barring an upset Nov. 11 in Happy Valley against Penn State, Michigan needs only to defeat Ohio State in Ann Arbor, Mich., Nov. 25 to clinch a spot in the title game.

And that championship matchup would likely come against one of Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin or Nebraska, teams currently sharing the West Division lead with 3-2 records in the conference.

Expect a line such as Michigan by 28 or so.

Despite distractions from the sign-stealing controversy at Michigan, coach Jim Harbaugh has succeeded in convincing his team to focus its attention to the on-field product.

“I think our depth and the health of the team is pretty high right now,” he said. “Couldn’t ask for much better going into this stretch in November.”

The Wolverines, who have a matchup with Purdue on Saturday, boast plenty of offensive talent to go with a shut-down defense.

Quarterback J.J. McCarthy and running back Blake Corum are elite. McCarthy, No. 2 in current Heisman Trophy betting (Washington’s Michael Penix is first), passed for a season-high 287 yards and four touchdowns in Michigan’s 49-0 pummeling of in-state rival Michigan State on Oct. 21.

The defense has allowed 47 points through eight games — pure dominance.

The Buckeyes are terrific, but aren’t likely to be favored in Ann Arbor.

Michigan’s number (-105 at FanDuel) will not be so attractive after Nov. 11, assuming a Wolverines victory over Penn State. Grab this virtual even-money bet.

The bet: Michigan -105 to win the Big Ten title game.

–Field Level Media

Oct 28, 2023; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Oregon Ducks kicker Camden Lewis (49) kicks a PAT against the Utah Utes during the first half at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Creveling-USA TODAY Sports

No. 6 Oregon, trying to peak at right time, not overlooking Cal

Oregon is in the thick of the national championship picture as the calendar turns to November.

The Ducks are No. 6 in the first College Football Playoff rankings of the campaign. They conclude the regular season with three of four games at home, beginning with a Pac-12 contest against Cal on Saturday in Eugene, Ore.

Oregon sits behind No. 5 Washington of the Pac-12 due to its 36-33 loss to the Huskies in Seattle on Oct. 14. It is possible the two teams will meet again in next month’s Pac-12 title game.

Regardless, momentum is running rampant after the Ducks (7-1, 4-1 Pac-12) trounced Utah 35-6 last weekend in Salt Lake City. The Utes had won 18 straight home games.

Now the task is not slipping up against the Golden Bears (3-5, 1-4), who have dropped three straight games.

“We want to play our best football at the end of the season,” Oregon second-year coach Dan Lanning said. “We’ve played our best football to date this last week, and we have to play better going forward.”

Lanning said the rout of Utah was “certainly the best performance of our team since I’ve been here.”

The Ducks have topped 30 points in all eight of their games and rank third nationally in scoring among FBS teams at 45.5 points per game and second in total offense at 531.4 yards per game.

Oregon quarterback Bo Nix has moved into the top tier of Heisman Trophy candidates and leads the nation with a 78.3 completion percentage. He has completed at least 72 percent of his throws in every game this season.

Nix has thrown for 2,337 yards and 21 touchdowns against just one interception, but his experience (an NCAA-record 55 career starts) and intangibles stand out.

“Bo Nix is the best quarterback in the nation, just to be really clear,” Lanning said. “I don’t think there’s any doubt about it. And again, it’s not just the plays he makes on the field, I think a lot of people talk about chasing stats and all these things, this guy just plays consistent.”

Nix insists he isn’t concerned with the Heisman race.

“I want to go out there and put our team in the best situation possible,” Nix said. “I feel like when I do that, (my teammates) have my back and they go out and perform at a high level as well.”

Cal had a chance to post a signature win against Southern California last weekend but fell short with a 50-49 home loss.

The Golden Bears led by 14 points before the Trojans scored 21 straight to take a 50-43 lead with 3:33 to go. Cal scored a touchdown with 58 seconds left and coach Justin Wilcox elected to go for a two-point conversion, but quarterback Fernando Mendoza’s pass was deflected by USC’s Jaylin Smith.

“Late in the game we had some opportunities to make a play here or there to change the outcome and we just couldn’t quite come up with it,” Wilcox said. “That’s a very talented team we just competed with and (we) had a number of chances to win and we didn’t do it.”

Mendoza completed 25 of 39 passes for 292 yards and two touchdowns and also rushed for two scores. The redshirt freshman has started three straight games and has thrown two TD passes while getting intercepted once in each contest.

Golden Bears sophomore running back Jaydn Ott matched his career best of three rushing touchdowns and posted his fifth career 100-yard game by rushing for 153 yards on 21 carries against the Trojans. Ott left in the fourth quarter with an undisclosed injury, and Wilcox said Tuesday that his best back is expected to play against the Ducks.

Ott has 754 rushing yards and eight scores on the season.

Oregon has won 12 of the past 14 meetings with Cal.

–Field Level Media