What To Watch: No. 9 faces No. 10 Oregon in Kelly’s return

Oct 19, 2022, 12:10 PM | Updated: Oct 20, 2022, 8:57 am
UCLA head coach Chip Kelly talks with an official during the first half of an NCAA college football...

UCLA head coach Chip Kelly talks with an official during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Utah in Pasadena, Calif., Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

(AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

UCLA coach Chip Kelly is facing his former school this weekend.

Never have the stakes been this high.

No. 9 UCLA plays at No. 10 Oregon this Saturday in a game that will likely narrow the Pac-12’s College Football Playoff chances to two teams.

Kelly lost the first two games against Oregon, the team he led to the 2011 BCS national championship game, but takes a much better team with him to Autzen Stadium this year.

“It’s always special going back there, it’s a special place in my life and there’s a lot of great people there that had a profound impact on my life,” said Kelly, Oregon’s coach from 2009-12. “But I’m not playing the game. We’re totally focused.”

The Pac-12´s first top-10 matchup since 2018 will keep one Pac-12 team alive in the CFP push and likely eliminate the other.

UCLA (6-0, 3-0 Pac-12) is the conference’s lone undefeated team and is coming off a bye after beating No. 15 Utah. Keep their roll going and the Bruins could work their way up to a top-four spot in the CFP.

The Ducks (5-1, 3-0) were crushed 49-3 by top-ranked Georgia in their opener, but have scored at least 40 points in five straight games since. Oregon would have to win out and hope a one-loss Pac-12 team will be good enough to get into the CFP.

No. 12 Southern California also would have to win out to hopefully get a playoff look.

The What to Watch rundown for this week of college football, presented by Regions Bank:

BEST GAME

No. 8 TCU at No. 17 Kansas State. The Big 12’s best defense faces its best offense with first place on the line.

The Frogs (6-0, 3-0 Big 12) have the offense, averaging 526.7 yards and 45.8 points per game. The Wildcats (5-1, 3-0) have the defense, holding opponents to 16.7 points per game.

TCU, picked to finish seventh in the Big 12 preseason poll, is the conference’s lone undefeated team remaining after rallying to beat No. 11 Oklahoma State 43-40 in double overtime last week.

Kansas State, picked fifth in the preseason poll, is the only other Big 12 team still undefeated in conference play after grinding out a 10-9 win over Iowa State.

HEISMAN WATCH

Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA. USC’s Caleb Williams is getting the most Heisman hype out West, but DTR has been putting up big numbers for the only Pac-12 team that hasn’t lost.

Thompson-Robinson has thrown for 1,510 yards and 15 touchdowns with two interceptions, adding 231 yards and four more scores rushing. If the Bruins make it to the CFP, he will likely be in the Heisman conversation.

NUMBERS TO KNOW

1 — Sack allowed by Oregon, fewest in the FBS.

16 — Receptions by Utah’s Dalton Kincaid against USC last week, most by a tight end since Northwestern’s Jon Harvey had 17 against Michigan in 1982.

24 — Years since No. 25 Tulane was ranked before cracking the AP Top 25 this week.

40 — Consecutive top-5 appearances in the AP Top 25 by Alabama before dropping to No. 6 this week.

551 — Total yards per game by Tennessee, tops in the FBS.

UNDER THE RADAR

No. 6 Alabama at No. 24 Mississippi State. The poor Bulldogs seem to have a knack for playing Alabama right after a Crimson Tide loss. It hasn’t gone well.

Alabama has played Mississippi State coming off a loss three times since 2019, winning those games by a combined 71 points.

The Bulldogs also will be playing with heavy hearts following the death of freshman offensive lineman Sam Westmoreland earlier this week.

___

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

New York Yankees' Aaron Judge watches his solo home run ball during the second inning of Game 5 of ...
Associated Press

AP source: Aaron Judge, Yankees reach $360M, 9-year deal

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Aaron Judge has issued his ruling: Court remains in session in the Bronx. Judge is staying with the New York Yankees on a $360 million, nine-year contract, according to a person familiar with the deal. The person spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday on condition of anonymity because the AL […]
1 day ago
Belgium's Eden Hazard reacts at the end of the World Cup group F soccer match between Croatia and B...
Associated Press

Belgium forward Hazard retires from international soccer

BRUSSELS (AP) — Belgium forward Eden Hazard retired from international soccer on Wednesday, nearly a week after his country’s aging generation of players was eliminated from the World Cup. The 31-year-old winger made his debut with the national team in 2008 at the age of 17. He made 126 appearances and scored 33 goals. “A […]
1 day ago
Orlando Magic's Paolo Banchero (5) looks to get around Milwaukee Bucks' Jrue Holiday, left, during ...
Associated Press

Paolo’s Diary: Magic rookie says he’s doing much learning

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Orlando Magic rookie and No. 1 overall draft pick Paolo Banchero is doing a periodic diary with The Associated Press this season to chronicle his first year in the NBA. This is his second installment, the first since the regular season started. The Magic are an NBA-worst 5-20 through the first 25 […]
1 day ago
Brazil's Neymar celebrates scoring his side's second goal during the World Cup round of 16 soccer m...
Associated Press

World Cup Viewer’s Guide: Quarterfinalists bid for title

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — After non-stop soccer for the past two weeks, the World Cup is taking a small break. There will be two days of rest before the quarterfinals start in Qatar with at least one surprising team still in contention to win soccer’s biggest prize. Morocco produced the latest upset in a tournament […]
1 day ago
Spain's players react after the penalty shootout at the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between ...
Associated Press

Young Spain squad and its ‘tiki-taka’ stumble at World Cup

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Spain lost to Morocco 3-0 in a penalty shootout in the round of 16 at the World Cup on Tuesday, failing to make it to the quarterfinals for the third straight time since winning its last world title in South Africa in 2010. La Roja also lost in a shootout in […]
1 day ago
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo walks during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Portugal a...
Associated Press

Ronaldo loses Portugal spot to sully World Cup journey

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — So, the dream is still alive for Cristiano Ronaldo. Soccer’s most prolific modern-day scorer might yet, at the age of 37 and probably playing in his last World Cup, claim the one major title to elude him in a career like no other. It didn’t quite feel that way, though, as […]
1 day ago
What To Watch: No. 9 faces No. 10 Oregon in Kelly’s return