EUGENE, Ore. -- Unbeaten Oregon was ranked No. 3 in the first BCS Standings released on Sunday.
Coach Mark Helfrich isn't among the Oregon fans fretting about the fact that both Alabama and Florida State are ahead of the Ducks in the BCS.
"Lot of football left to play and we play UCLA next, that is my reaction," he said. "That is great for the media and fans and for 'Hey, what if this happens and that happens', but I know we play UCLA."
Helfrich has passed that message onto the players.
"That's their opinion, we have no control over it," quarterback Marcus Mariota said of the BCS Standings.
Of course, the fact remains that an Oregon win over UCLA might be all it takes to put the Ducks in one of the top two spots in the BCS rankings when the computers tabulate the latest results this weekend.
Oregon is 7-0 and 4-0 in the Pac-12 Conference heading into its toughest two-week stretch of the season and will likely pass No. 2 Florida State if it can beat No. 12 UCLA Saturday at Autzen Stadium. A win over the Bruins could move Oregon up in the computer rankings enough to pass the Seminoles, who face unranked North Carolina State, which is 3-3.
Florida State has a game remaining with No. 7 Miami, but otherwise won't get an opportunity to bolster its resume.
After UCLA, the Ducks have a bye before a nationally-televised game against No. 8 Stanford on Nov. 8. The Cardinal beat the Bruins 24-10 last week. While Oregon watched film of UCLA this week, it will also get a sneak preview of Stanford.
"I'm sure that helps on some level," Helfrich said. "Special teams is a place where you have a direct correlation to something you are going to do and that they do. But it is kind of the opposite. You are looking at UCLA's defense while watching Stanford's offense."
UCLA is the highest-ranked team that Oregon has faced this season.
"They are really good," Helfrich said. "They played a tough Stanford team last week. They have six or seven linebackers that are all virtually interchangeable and outstanding. They run well, they are athletic, coached well and their front is good and the back end is really good. It is a huge challenge."
Oregon got some good news this week when running back De'Anthony Thomas said on the school's website, GoDucks.com, he expects to return on Saturday. He has missed the last three games with an injured right ankle.
Thomas missed most of the Ducks' Sept. 28 game against Cal after injuring his ankle on the opening kickoff. Thomas had 338 yards rushing and six touchdowns in Oregon's first three games this season.