The Oregon Ducks and the UCLA Bruins battle it out in the inaugural Pac-12 Championship Game on Friday, Dec. 2, but what a wild finish to the regular season for that to happen. The Ducks were heavily favored entering the season to win the Pac-12, so the wild ride was really for the Bruins -- and that was only because the USC Trojans were ineligible for postseason play.
The Bruins were in a three-way competition with the Arizona St. Sun Devils and the Utah Utes, both 4-4 in conference play, for the Pac-12 South division title. UCLA needed Utah to lose to the Colorado Buffaloes to capture the division title because UCLA had beaten Arizona State earlier in the season. The Buffs did that, meaning that UCLA didn't even need to pull off an upset over the USC Trojans (UCLA lost, 50-0, and finished the regular season 6-6). With an upset over the Ducks, the Bruins lay claim to the Pac-12 automatic BCS bid, certainly an embarrassing situation for the system. A loss actually eliminates UCLA from bowl contention since they would have a losing record.
The Ducks, meanwhile, rebounded from an opening season loss to the No. 1 LSU Tigers to win nine straight games before USC upended the team's hopes of staying in the BCS National Championship Game picture. The Rose Bowl is on the line here, and Darron Thomas and LaMichael James are surely ready to clobber the Bruins.