Sports

No. 2 Ducks host UCLA Saturday then visit Stanford next weekend as the season heats up

  • UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley (17) during runs out of the pocket in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Stanford on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013, in Stanford, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

    UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley (17) during runs out of the pocket in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Stanford on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013, in Stanford, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)  (The Associated Press)

  • UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley (17) is chased by Stanford's Luke Kaumatule (99) during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Stanford on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013, in Stanford, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

    UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley (17) is chased by Stanford's Luke Kaumatule (99) during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Stanford on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013, in Stanford, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)  (The Associated Press)

  • Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan throws against UCLA during the second half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013, in Stanford, Calif. Stanford won 24-10. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

    Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan throws against UCLA during the second half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013, in Stanford, Calif. Stanford won 24-10. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)  (The Associated Press)

Starting Saturday against UCLA and continuing next week at Stanford, Oregon faces the most challenging span of its schedule.

The outcome of the seven-day stretch is crucial for the Ducks to have a shot at the national championship. Right now the Ducks sit at No. 2 in the AP Top 25 behind Alabama.

In the initial BCS rankings, released this past Sunday, Oregon is No. 3, pushed back by undefeated Florida State, which beat No. 3 Clemson 51-14 last Saturday.

But while victories over the No. 12 Bruins and No. 8 Cardinal are considered essential for Oregon, the Ducks are focused solely on UCLA (5-1, 2-1) this Saturday afternoon at Autzen Stadium.