PASADENA, CA - NOVEMBER 05: Head coach Rick Neuheisel of the UCLA Bruins celebrates as he leaves the field after the game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at the Rose Bowl on November 5, 2011 in Pasadena, California. UCLA won 29-28. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
The UCLA Bruins are going to the Pac-12 championship game.
The UCLA Bruins are winning one of the worst divisions in major college football history. Outside of USC (who is on probation and would have won this division by miles), here are your representatives.
- The 6-5 Arizona St. Sun Devils, who had one impressive victory over USC, and proceeded to lose to UCLA, WSU's third string QB and a three win Arizona squad with the South title within their reach.
- 6-5 UCLA, who lost by 36 to a three win Arizona team on national television, lost by 25 in a must-win atmosphere to the Utah Utes, and haven't wont a significant road game in conference during the Rick Neuheisel era.
- The 7-5 Utah Utes, who had a chance to put themselves in the Pac-12 title hunt and proceeded to blow it at home with an atrocious performance against lowly Colorado. Utah's wins are against Arizona (3-8), Washington State (4-7), Oregon State (3-8), and a beatdown of UCLA.
- The 3-10 Colorado Buffaloes, who beat Colorado State, 3-8 Arizona and Pac-12 South title contender Utah.
- The 3-8 Arizona Wildcats, who curbstomped UCLA, beat ASU with everything on the line for the Devils, and lost to Oregon State and Colorado.
The UCLA Bruins fanbase wanted Neuheisel out after embarrassing losses. Yet he responded with wins over Cal and Arizona State to put UCLA up top on a weak Southern division. Now he has them in position to possibly score one of the biggest upsets in Pac-12 history and get to the Rose Bowl EVEN IF they lose their rivalry game to USC.
UCLA has only beaten their crosstown rivals once since 1999, and have not done anything to dissuade the notion that there's a football monopoly that USC holds on Los Angeles, despite Neuheisel's best urges. And they might need to ensure bowl eligibility, because if they lose their next two, they're not going bowling at all.
It's a blessing and a curse for Bruins fans, who might have to go all or nothing. If UCLA loses both games, they're sitting at home and clearing house. But if UCLA beats either USC or wins the Pac-12 title game, they might have to live with more Rick Neuheisel, who has produced mediocre results in his four years in Westwood. If his team did score the upsets necessary to move forward, they would probably top the 1999 Stanford team as the worst representative for the Pac in the Rose Bowl ever. And perhaps even getting to the title game might be enough for Dan Guerrero to consider keeping Neuheisel around, to the horror of all involved.
Kirk Herbstreit was right about UCLA winning the South. I'm wondering how many UCLA and Pac-12 fans were wishing he was wrong.