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Alabama, Florida State, Oregon 1-2-3 in BCS


Commenting before the release of the first Bowl Championship Series standings Sunday, Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said, predictably, the Ducks' position in the poll wouldn't matter.

"It'll be great, and take up some column inches (in newspapers), and that's good for everybody and gets fan interest going," he said. "In a few weeks, it'll really matter."

The Ducks and their fans probably were slightly surprised, however, when the first BCS standings revealed Oregon third behind Alabama and Florida State. The Crimson Tide, clearly, should be No. 1, based on consecutive championships and an undefeated record. But, Florida State? The Seminoles staked their claim by blowing out fellow top-5 team Clemson, 51-14.

The Seminoles had a BCS score — taking into account human polls and computer calculations — of .935 to Oregon's .932.

The top two teams in the final BCS standings play for the national championship.

It's now Oregon's turn to make a statement or two. The Ducks (7-0, 4-0 Pac-12), who thumped Washington State 62-38, will play UCLA (5-1, 2-1) at 4 p.m. Saturday at Autzen Stadium. The Bruins, led by QB Brett Hundley and a good defense, fell from the ranks of the unbeaten, losing to Stanford 24-10. The Ducks play Stanford on Nov. 7.

Helfrich, concentrating on the UCLA defense initially, said the Bruins have "an extremely talented set of linebackers," led by Anthony Barr, who he compares to ex-Arizona State star Terrell Suggs. The Bruins play three down linemen, and rotate players at those positions.

Hundley has completed 66.8 percent of his passes, averaging 276.8 yards per game with 13 TDs and six interceptions. He's also rushed for 287 yards and three scores.

The Ducks are coming off a dismantling of Washington State, which tried in vain to beat the home team through the air. Connor Halliday went 58 for 89 passing for 557 yards and four scores — the 58 completions tying the NCAA big-school record, the 89 attempts setting the record.

After the game, Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti criticized WSU coach Mike Leach for leaving Halliday and offensive starters in the game to score two late-game touchdowns against Oregon's third- and fourth-string defensive players. He called Leach "low class." Mind you, the Cougars simply don't run the ball — they ran only 12 times in the game — so running the ball to kill the clock wasn't going to happen; the Cougars could have put in a backup quarterback to throw the ball, one presumes. But Leach has been trying to instill a winning mentality and get his players to a competitive level, with confidence in what was a woebegone program.

Helfrich talked with Aliotti on Sunday.

"We have a lot of respect, and (Aliotti) has a lot of respect, for Coach Leach, (athletic director) Bill Moos and Washington State," Helfrich said. "The content and manner of his comments are not representative of (Aliotti) or our program. I know he's remorseful, more or less caught in the moment defending our players. We'll all learn from that and move on."

The fiery Aliotti, a Duck D-coordinator stretching back to the Rich Brooks days, always has been vocal about things. This year alone, Aliotti complained about officiating after the Nicholls State game (a 66-3 win) and, before the WSU game, he told reporters that the Cougars should throw the ball deep against the Ducks, because passes might draw pass interference calls because "horrible" officials don't understand football and don't know how to make PI calls.

On another note, Helfrich addressed the passing of former University of Washington coach Don James.

"Absolutely an icon in our game," Helfrich said. "Our thoughts go out to the James family and Washington football family. It doesn't matter what side you're on ... he's a legend in our sport."