In terms of on-field success, there is nothing that can change the relative standing for either the USC Trojans nor UCLA Bruins in Saturday night's battle at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. USC has the better record, but they are ineligible for postseason play so their season ends tonight no matter what. UCLA has clinched a berth in the Pac-12 Championship Game whether they win or lose.
But that doesn't mean there isn't an awful lot to play for on Saturday night, and not just the Victory Bell.
A win for USC (9-2, 6-2) would give them a 10-win season for the 25th time in school history and the eighth time in the last 10 years. It would also ensure the Trojans the best record in the South Division.
Similarly, a win by UCLA (6-5, 5-3) would give them the same conference record as USC, plus the tiebreaker. It would mean the Bruins wouldn't just have a "yeah but if USC was eligible for postseason" division title.
"One of the goals we established as a team when we entered camp this fall was to play for the first-ever Pac-12 title," said UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel on Friday. "Keeping in mind that we are still focused on beating USC tomorrow night, we are certainly excited to represent the South Division on December 2nd in the conference championship game."
As it stands, even if USC wins and secured best record, the Pac-12 won't allow them to call themselves division champs. In a tweet, a Pac-12 official told Chris Foster of the Los Angeles Times, "USC can claim it finished first, but can not call itself champion or co-champion."
The winner on Saturday night in Los Angeles can call themselves whatever they want.
Saturday night's 7 p.m. PST game will be televised by Prime Ticket. For more UCLA football news and analysis, be sure to read Bruins Nation. For USC football information, be sure to read Conquest Chronicles.