Enough with a Southeastern Conference team coming off a 5-7 season—the Oregon Ducks fanbase has its sights set on bigger SEC game—namely, an elephant.
Chants of "we want 'Bama" and mocking refrains of "S-E-C" from the Autzen Stadium crowd spoke volumes. This is a program that wants a crack at the BCS championship crown and wants to go through the game's reigning kings to claim it.
Oregon exorcised one of the few demons plaguing it in recent years, ending a two-game losing skid against SEC competition with Saturday's 59-14 rout of Tennessee. A brief, 7-0 Volunteer lead had the Ducks seeing red instead of orange, as they bludgeoned their visitors with 59 consecutive points thereafter.
That torrid onslaught certainly sent a message to the Vols. The final score was not indicative of just how lopsided this matchup truly was, as Duck head coach Mark Helfrich let off the gas in the final quarter.
The decided advantage Oregon exploited over Tennessee made for a much different dynamic than the Ducks' previous two games against SEC competition.
After going toe-to-toe with Auburn in the BCS championship game in January 2011, a knee decided it—specifically Michael Dyer's knee, which never touched the turf on a run that set up the game-winning field goal.
Eventual conference champion LSU wore down the Ducks in the 2011 season opener for a 40-27 outcome very uncharacteristic of the Oregon teams in the Chip Kelly era. That one has lingered over Eugene for two years now.
Though head coach Butch Jones is in the process of rebuilding Tennessee to its past glory, these Vols are a far cry from those top-tier SEC programs.
Oregon is through its non-conference slate with a 52.3-point-per-game average margin of victory. If the Ducks are going to get another crack at the nation's most celebrated conference, it will be determined in the Pac-12.
Kyle Kensing is the Pac-12 Lead Writer. All quotes were obtained firsthand, unless otherwise noted. Follow Kyle on Twitter: @kensing45.
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