Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota isn't one to overreact.
The even-keeled superstar is perfectly aware how the Ducks' future was redirected Saturday following USC's win against Stanford, but despite the ups and downs of the past two weeks, his demeanor hasn't wavered.
"It's one of those deals. You can control what you can control," he said. "It happened that Stanford lost and now we can control our own destiny."
But Marcus, aren't you excited by that?
"For sure," he admitted. "I was watching the (USC-Stanford) game at Red Robin with my dad and to see the community get excited … and for myself to get excited to have that opportunity to possibly play in the Pac-12 championship is huge."
Key word: possibly.
No. 5 Oregon (9-1 overall, 6-1 Pac-12) isn't taking anything for granted. Not after losing to Stanford and not after watching what happened to Stanford at USC.
The Ducks still need to get through their trip to Arizona on Saturday and beat Oregon State at home in the Civil War before a potential conference championship game would become a reality. Oregon has won five straight against Arizona, including the last two in Tucson.
"Every week is it," Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said. "In college football, you can't get a do-over. You can't get a do-over and you can't get a mulligan. Certainly in our conference with a nine-game schedule, we don't have a get-healthy type of game like some other conferences do with their scheduling."
Since reaching bowl eligibility with a win against California on Nov. 2, Arizona (6-4, 3-4) has dropped its last two, including last week at home to Washington State. The Wildcats are without a win over a FBS team that currently has a winning record, but feature dangerous running back Ka'Deem Carey, who ranks second in the nation, averaging 150.3 yards per game.
The Ducks have been rotating several guys through on the scout in team in hopes of getting their defense prepared for Carey, but Helfrich admitted it's tough to simulate a guy as talented as the junior Doak Walker Award semifinalist.
"Ka'Deem Carey is phenomenal," Helfrich said. "He's an all-purpose great, great back. He's powerful, but he's quick. He has great hands. He's versatile. We've got our hands full."
As does Arizona.
The Ducks rank No. 2 in the nation in total offense (580.2 ypg), No. 3 in scoring offense (50.9 ppg), and Mariota has yet to throw an interception but still ranks No. 8 nationally with 25 touchdown passes.
"He’s as good a college quarterback as any the last couple years," Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said of Mariota. "He’s a top-five pick. From what I understand, he’s a great leader and a great guy in the locker room. He should be in New York for the Heisman.”