Rose Bowl 'not a big deal' to Ducks

Updated: November 22, 2013, 12:09 PM ET
By Kevin Gemmell | ESPN.com

Oregon may be headed to a fifth straight BCS bowl game, but it's not the game the Ducks had in mind when the season started.

And two high-profile players weren't shy this week about expressing their disappointment.

"I don't want to play in a Rose Bowl unless I'm playing for a national championship," wide receiver Josh Huff told reporters Monday.

[+] EnlargeJosh Huff
Steve Dykes/Getty ImagesJosh Huff on a potential return to Pasadena: "I don't want to play in a Rose Bowl unless I'm playing for a national championship."

Oregon is back in control of the Pac-12 North Division following USC's victory last week over Stanford. If the No. 5 Ducks win out, they will represent the North in the Pac-12 title game with a berth in the Rose Bowl at stake -- a scenario that seems ho-hum to running back De'Anthony Thomas.

"It's not a big deal at all," Thomas told reporters. "We already won a Rose Bowl, so it feels like, 'Whatever.'"

He did go on to clarify that some of the Ducks would benefit from a Rose Bowl.

"It will be a good experience for the guys that haven't been on this team," he said. "It's a great opportunity for them to experience it and, you know, go out there and have fun."

As the country's highest ranked one-loss team, Oregon isn't out of the national championship picture. But with four undefeated teams ahead of the Ducks in the BCS standings, they need some serious help.

Huff said watching USC's last-minute 20-17 win over the Cardinal was especially frustrating because, a week earlier, the Cardinal had knocked off the Ducks 26-20 in Palo Alto, Calif. -- severely damaging Oregon's chances of advancing to the BCS title game.

"It was pulling at my nerves," Huff said. "I just wish we would have handled things differently when we played those guys. ... I don't mind playing in the Rose Bowl, playing for the fans and my teammates. But deep down I don't wanna be a prep game for the national championship game.

"If we would have handled our business like we were supposed to, we wouldn't have had to rely on USC to get back in the Pac-12 championship game. We wouldn't have to be in the situation we are now."

The Ducks lost to Ohio State in the 2009 Rose Bowl and to Auburn in the 2010 BCS title game. They've won their past two BCS bowl games, topping Wisconsin in the 2011 Rose Bowl and Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl last season.

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