But that's not the case this season.
At Tuesday afternoon's weekly press conference, head coach Jeff Tedford was adamant that his football team is focused. "No way," he said when asked if he was worried about his team taking the Ducks lightly.
Despite a 3-0 non-conference record, Tedford says those wins are an afterthought as the Pac-10 conference race is an entirely new ball game.
"You can throw the three wins we have; you can throw those away because it's a brand new season starting right now. And that's the focus we're going to take," said Tedford.
The newfound focus is something Tedford saw during Sunday's practice. He says the mood was almost as if the Bears had lost at Minneapolis. The intensity of the practice was unlike any of 2008 and gives him the confidence his team will play at a high level regardless of Oregon's ranking and record.
"That's the kind of things we try to block out," senior defensive end Tyson Alualu said of rankings and pre-game hype. "In the Pac-10, if you're not well prepared, anybody can lose a game. Anybody can win. We're just going in there to take care of our business and go hard every play."
Listen to Tedford's complete response below…
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