James, a junior, has been to the Rose Bowl before, and then last year he accompanied Oregon to the national championship. But so far during his tenure, Oregon has yet to win one of those big games.
He'll get another chance on Jan. 2, when Oregon goes to the Rose Bowl. The No. 8 Ducks earned the trip with a 49-31 victory over UCLA Friday night in the inaugural Pac-12 championship game.
Oregon will play the winner of the first Big Ten championship game Saturday between No. 11 Michigan State and No. 15 Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 2. The bowl pairings will be formally announced on Sunday.
"We've got to," he said about winning in Pasadena. "We've got to compete. We might have lost, be we always compete. That's where it starts at."
James ran for 219 yards and three touchdowns against UCLA, setting a league record with three straight 1,500-yard seasons, will bolt to the NFL next season.
While James celebrated with his teammates after the victory, UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel paused before Bruins fans at Autzen Stadium and tipped his hat.
The former UCLA quarterback was fired this week after four seasons at his alma mater.
"They can take my job," Neuheisel said, gesturing to the locker room as he left the field, "but they can't take those boys away from me."
Neuheisel was fired following last weekend's 50-0 loss to No. 9 Southern California.
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