The UCLA Bruins can ponder why the hell they're in the Pac-12 Championship game and why they might think they have a chance to knock off Oregon. But they'll probably be pondering the most why their head coach is still their head coach.
That Pac-12 Championship game is probably the sole reason Rick Neuheisel is still around. You can't fire a coach who's in position to take you to Pasadena, lest you risk further faceplanting. But it's not looking likely Neuheisel will return, even if he does pull off the greatest upset in the young Pac-12, even if the does pull off the greatest upset in the conference since Stanford-USC 2007 and send this team to Pasadena in January to get destroyed in the 2012 Rose Bowl. Too little, way way too late.
Neuheisel and his Pac-12 "South Champions" got crushed by the real South Champions this past weekend, getting bulldozed by a team with absolutely nothing to play for but pride. UCLA looked happy that they backed into the conference title game, playing and coaching like a team that decided to stuff itself with Thanksgiving dinners all weekend long. Neuheisel barked like a fool going into the game, and he could only whimper on Saturday night like a puppy who crapped all over the Bruin faithful.
It was an embarrassing night for UCLA and an embarrassing moment for, who now has to pull the miracle of miracles and make the inaugural Pac-12 Championship look like something worth wasting a Friday night on. It was probably the worst night in a long time for the program, and this was a team that brawled on Thursday Night football with a 4-8 Arizona team after spotting them 42 in the first half.
Now the Bruins are faced with the hilariously awful "Rose Bowl or bust" scenario. If UCLA loses the title game in the expected five touchdown blowout fashion, they'll be 6-7 and need a waiver, and it's highly unlikely any of their fans would travel to watch them in any bowl game based on the way they've played the past few weeks.
Maybe it looks like bad faith to fire a head coach that led the team to a conference title bid and still has Pasadena within their sights. Perhaps Dan Guerrero is trying to scramble and get his list together of potential candidates (although if Tom Cable is his first choice, there's going to be hell to pay in Westwood). But it's clear there's very little to gain from this week of charades. Neuheisel must be jettisoned ASAP.
Right now the Bruins are headed for a toxic finish to the year, and only a complete purging can revitalize the stink that emnates from their dysfunctional program.