The UCLA Bruins clinched the Pac-12 South with Utah's loss on Friday, but their pummeling at the hands of the USC Trojans on Saturday night had far heavier implications for their bowl game chances.
Although the Bruins will play in the inaugural Pac-12 Championship Game on Friday, they will be playing the Oregon Ducks, who are heavily favored and will be picked by most to walk away with the victory and the conference title. If UCLA does indeed lose that game, they'll finish the season with a 6-7 losing record. By NCAA rules, that would render them ineligible for bowl game consideration. In that situation, the team and school would request a waiver from the NCAA, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.
In other words, it's a potential do-or-die situation for UCLA. If they upset the Ducks, they'll find themselves representing the Pac-12 in the Rose Bowl. If they lose, they may not make it to a bowl game at all. If UCLA manages to be granted a waiver, they could still find themselves in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl or the Gildan New Mexico Bowl, but that may be a long shot depending on how generous the NCAA happens to be feeling.
USC's victory may end up giving the Trojans and their fans a prolonged and hearty last laugh.
To find the full 2011 college football bowl schedule, click here. To see the full college football bowl projections, click here. To find out more about USC football, visit Conquest Chronicles. And of course, to read more about UCLA, please visit Bruins Nation.