Ask anyone in Eugene, and they'll say the problem with last year's Oregon football team was that the Ducks started to believe their own hype. They believed a BCS berth was a given, and that victory was assured as long as they showed up in whatever uniform combination they happened to wear that day.
"And that's the thing, everything has to be earned at this level," left tackler Tyler Johnstone told the Oregonian. "We can't win on talent alone. That's what we took away from it. You actually have to work, and you have to take care of the little things.''
Mark Helfrich has stressed that Oregon needs to get back to being a blue collar team in 2014. He should be unable to tell, Helfrich tells his team, if they love practices or games more.
To drive home that point, Helfrich has put blue collars on Oregon's practice undershirts.
"We know within our team why we lost two games,'' receiver Keanon Lowe said. "And (the blue collars) is a cool representation and symbol to always keep in our minds that this is a process. There are steps on the ladder, but you can't skip steps. You can't expect to win just because of the O on the helmet.''
In the Pac-12's South Division, Arizona State is building off a season in which the Sun Devils got to host the conference title game, but fell to Stanford for the second time of the season in a thorough 38-14 defeat.
Todd Graham says the Pac-12 Championship is the goal for Arizona State every season but, just in case his players have forgotten, he's had his equipment staff put Pac-12 championship trophy decals on the back of their helmets for fall camp.