- Kyle Bonagura, ESPN Staff Writer
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As No. 2 Oregon prepares for a trip to Colorado, it's not so much the Buffaloes who have the Ducks' attention as much as it is themselves.
For Oregon, its own improvement will take care of Saturday's result and, perhaps more importantly, will help when the road gets tougher.
"It's us against us. Try to compete against ourselves," Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said. "Whatever we did yesterday, do it better."
It's a philosophy Chip Kelly instilled and one Helfrich continues to employ. And it doesn't mean Colorado, or anyone else, is being overlooked.
The Ducks simply don't play down to their competition.
They haven't won a regular season game by single digits since 2010 and their average margin of victory over the last two seasons is a tad higher than five touchdowns (35.1).
"If you take a deep breath and a sigh and a relaxing breath because you're playing a supposed team that you're going to beat and then you have to ramp it up for a team that's supposedly better than you, you're not going to maximize your personal or your team's opportunities for success," Helfrich said.
Hence the full-throttle approach, even when it's not required.
Oregon will take the nation's longest road winning streak (16 games) to Boulder as a 38 1/2- point favorite, where nothing short of a Colorado miracle will prevent the Ducks from moving to 5-0.
No sound bit of logic suggests an Oregon loss is possible, but first-year Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre was quick to point out there is precedent that he's been a part of.
MacIntyre was the defensive coordinator at Temple in 1998 when the Owls took an 0-5 record to play at No. 14 Virginia Tech as a 35-point underdog. The Hokies were 5-0 and had given up just 30 points all season, the best mark in the country, while Temple was 0-26 all time in Big East road games.
Final score: Temple 28, Virginia Tech 24.
"Each one of [the players] has to believe themselves individually," MacIntyre said. "Been part of it before as a coach. Definitely know it can happen."
MacIntyre didn't imply he was confident a repeat was coming, only that he was excited about the opportunity.
"I mean you’re getting to play against the best team in the country on national television," he said. "You’re at home, great crowd. That’s what you dream about all your life."
"I would say that right now to me, they look like one of the top two or three teams in the country," MacIntyre added. "But, I would say right now the way they’re clicking off and beating everybody, I mean it’s not even close. At halftime, it’s over every game it’s over.
"So, hopefully this one won’t be over and we will be right in it and that’s what we’re planning on doing."