In the first year of the Pac-12 Conference, it looked like the UCLA Bruins caught a break by not having the Oregon Ducks on their schedule. That might no longer be the case, however. The Bruins have clinched a berth in the inaugural Pac-12 Championship Game, and The Civil War will determine the Bruins' opponent.
Oregon will host the Oregon State Beavers on Saturday afternoon in Eugene, and the stakes are simple. If the Ducks (9-2, 7-1) win, they are the Pac-12 North Division champions and will host UCLA on Friday, December 2. However, if the Ducks lose to the Beavers, the Stanford Cardinal (10-1, 8-1) would win the North and they would host the Bruins next week.
UCLA lost to Stanford 45-19 at Palo Alto on October 1.
For the Bruins, they are in a tough position in that their reward for representing the South Division (remember, the USC Trojans are ineligible for postseason play this season; otherwise the Trojans would be in the title game with a win) is an extra game and the possibility of finishing 6-7 and jeopardizing their bowl eligibility. UCLA is a two-touchdown underdog to the Trojans, and will likely be heavier underdogs next Friday whether they are in Eugene or Palo Alto.
The Bruins could conceivably petition the NCAA for bowl eligibility if such a situation arises, but we're getting ahead of ourselves a bit. There are still two games to played by the Bruins. Counting UCLA out so far this season has proved an unwise decision. Just ask the Pac-12 South Division.
The inaugural Pac-12 Championship Football Game will be played on Friday, December 2 at 5 p.m. PT on Fox. For more UCLA football news and information, be sure to read Bruins Nation.