EUGENE, Ore. -- Oregon can save itself a lot of idle bowl speculation by sweeping its final three games.
Best case? The Ducks play in the Bowl Championship Series title game.
Worst case? The Ducks go to the Rose Bowl, which used to be the goal of all Pac-10 teams until the BCS came along.
Those would be the only two scenarios for Oregon at 11-1.
"We know if we win out, we'll have a chance to go to a couple of pretty neat places," coach Mike Bellotti said after Oregon took command of the conference race with a decisive 35-23 victory over Arizona State on Saturday at Autzen Stadium.
Oregon climbed to No. 3 in the latest Bowl Championship Series standings and Associated Press Top 25 on Sunday.
Five weeks after a heartbreaking loss to Cal, the Ducks (8-1, 5-1 Pac-10) have given themselves new life in the national title picture by defeating two Top 10 teams in a row. Saturday's victory followed a 24-17 win over USC on Oct. 27.
Before the Ducks start booking hotels for the holidays, they want to make sure quarterback Dennis Dixon is healthy. Dixon left Saturday's game with what was described as a bruised thigh and strained knee.
Bellotti said Sunday night that Dixon probably will undergo an MRI today.
"They think it's probably just a strain," Bellotti said.
Dixon is expected to return for the Ducks' next game at Arizona on Nov. 15, a Thursday.
"There's nothing for us to worry about," said tailback Jonathan Stewart, who rushed for 99 yards and a touchdown against the Sun Devils. "We've just got to take care of ourselves."
Truth is, the Ducks may need help if they hope to draw a berth in their first BCS title game. They trail Ohio State (10-0) and LSU (8-1) in the latest BCS standings, and with three mediocre teams left on their schedule, the Ducks might not have enough schedule strength to leapfrog the Tigers.
Ohio State and LSU are 1-2 in the latest AP poll.
RUNNING MAN, at Fayetteville, Ark. -- With or without the Heisman Trophy, Darren McFadden has secured his legacy as one of the Southeastern Conference's greatest runners.
McFadden rushed for 321 yards Saturday night to tie an SEC record in Arkansas' 48-36 victory over South Carolina. McFadden gave Heisman voters something to think about.
"The numbers speak for themselves," McFadden, the Heisman runner-up last year, said with a smile. "That's the only thing I can say to them."
On Sunday, McFadden's total was dropped from 323 yards to 321. That left him tied with Vanderbilt's Frank Mordica, who set the record in 1978.
In one game, McFadden moved from No. 10 to No. 5 on the SEC career rushing list, passing Carnell Williams, Sonny Collins, Emmitt Smith, Charles Alexander and Dalton Hilliard. McFadden now has 4,074 career yards rushing.
QB OUT OF HOSPITAL, at Los Angeles -- UCLA quarterback Patrick Cowan was released from the University of Arizona Hospital emergency room late Saturday night after being treated for a concussion and collapsed lung.
Cowan sustained a concussion in the third quarter of the Bruins' 34-27 loss to Arizona and was taken to the hospital after experiencing discomfort and shortness of breath.