The UCLA Bruins will be losing their head coach after the Pac-12 championship game, win or lose. The biggest question is whether the football team does something about it between here and Friday.
There's no real reason to believe UCLA will rally back and capture a conference title, not after the way they laid down an died on Saturday night in the Coliseum (in their rivalry game! Who does that?). Odds are the Bruins will fall to 6-7 after a beatdown from the mighty Oregon Ducks, will apply for a bowl waiver, and go Fight Hunger or something.
But these bipolar Bruins have done strange, strange things.
UCLA went out and got totalled by Arizona early in the season. They then went onto beat down a 7-5 Cal team and a 6-6 ASU team at home. UCLA was uncompetitive on the road in almost every conference game this year, but has bounced back with equally impressive wins at home. It would be like them to somehow come out and summon the spirit to hold down Oregon for a quarter before they realized they were in Autzen Stadium.
Keep in mind the Ducks have been a slow-starting football team almost every year. They might be one of the worst first quarter teams in the conference, and their second quarters are only a step behind that. If UCLA can jump to an early lead, perhaps Oregon will get a little nervous at home and then anything can happen (like a four touchdown loss instead of a five touchdown loss. Anything can happen!).
The Bruins defense has shown pluck and fight at times. Can they somehow put it together and force Darron Thomas (who is error-prone) to make mistakes? Can Oregon (who've probably let their guard down now that they know they're facing the underwhelming Bruins) overlook their opponents and risk being trapped at home? Will Chip Kelly go for it on every 4th down he faces no matter where he's at, just to punch UCLA when they're down (HE SO WOULD.).
An upset is not likely. Not likely at all. But If UCLA were to somehow steal the conference championship, you have to figure that the players will have to rally around the departing Rick Neuheisel and use that as their call to arms. It'd certainly give new meaning to the words, "Gutty little Bruins".
(That was the long answer to the title. The short answer is a two letter word.)