Dan Lanning joined ESPN’s pregame shows on Monday night ahead of the College Football Playoff National Championship in Houston.

Lanning Ducks lost to the Washington Huskies twice this season, and ESPN had him on its Championship Drive show and later on College GameDay to break down the title matchup with Michigan. When Lanning was asked by ESPN’s Kevin Negandhi how a coach can watch a title game knowing they were three points away from potentially playing in that game themselves, Lanning delivered three words that will make Oregon fans itching for the new year to get rolling.

“They were so close,” Negandhi said. “How do you watch the game?”

Said Lanning: “That’s the fuel.”

Oregon went 12-2 this season to finish as Fiesta Bowl champs and the Pac-12 runner-up. The Ducks lost to Washington, 36-33, in Seattle on Oct. 14 and then fell again to UW in the Pac-12 Championship Game, 34-31.

“We have a high expectation for ourselves,” Lanning said after the Pac-12 title loss. “There’s nobody outside of this room that wants us to do better than those guys in that locker room, these coaches. They know what we had this year. We have a special group this year.

“But it’s a building block, right? We’re in Year 2. This is an opportunity to build on this and set the expectation for what it should look like in the future.”