Blog Entry

The farce that has become the Pac-12 title game

Posted on: November 27, 2011 11:38 am
Edited on: November 27, 2011 12:16 pm

Look what the NCAA has done. Look what the Pac-12 done. Look what Rick Neuheisel has done.

Actually, UCLA’s coach-for-now might be the least culpable in the farce that has turned into the first Pac-12 championship game.  Start with the fact that there is every reason to believe the best team might not be playing in it. And that one of the league’s worst is playing in it.

USC has the same record as and has beaten North Division champion Oregon (both 10-2). The Ducks will be the prohibitive favorite in the conference’s first championship game that looks more like a September conference opener. It’s hard to argue against the Trojans playing the best Pac-12 football at the moment. Actually, some of the best football in the country.

The Trojans all but shouted that from the top of the Coliseum Saturday night routing UCLA, 50-0. That would be the UCLA that is the South Division “champion” facing Oregon Friday in Eugene. There may not be a worse league title game in history. And, yes, I’m counting the MAC and Conference USA.

At least teams from those conferences had earned their way to their championship games. UCLA is the back-up date to the prom after the head cheerleader said no. Take away the divisions and UCLA finished in a tie for fourth. But in this age of divisional formats, paper heroes can be created. UCLA was that Back-Up Plan because, well, you might have read somewhere that USC is ineligible for postseason play. The Trojans, Pac-12 and NCAA went into this season knowing that was the case.

What they didn’t know is that the second-place team in the South would be 6-6 UCLA, coming off a skunking by the Trojans. What they didn’t know is that UCLA would “clinch” the South when Colorado, a team that had lost 23 straight road games, would win at Utah.

They couldn’t have conceived that only that championship game is keeping Neuheisel from being fired right now. Should be quite a celebration in Eugene, and a funeral dirge in Westwood once the plane lands. Among other sins, UCLA’s coach actually had the temerity to suggest that UCLA had “closed the gap” on USC in the last four years. Bad move, Slick Rick. That probably explains why Matt Barkley was still in the game in the fourth quarter chucking his sixth touchdown pass.

USC got hammered with the one of the worst penalties in NCAA history. In terms of closing that gap, UCLA couldn’t even kick down a door that was left wide open.

Neuheisel being fired after Friday’s Eugene beating is a given. AD Dan Guerrero can’t tap dance fast enough around the issue. If the Bruins somehow won and got to – wait for it – another home game in the Rose Bowl, that would only heighten the urgency. The Bruins would be playing in the Rose Bowl but they’re not nearly a Rose Bowl team

Call it one of the unintended consequences of a postseason ban. Surely, the NCAA infractions committee couldn’t have conceived of these circumstances when it banned USC: A team ineligible for a bowl would be replaced by a team about to be ineligible for a bowl.

An explanation: A UCLA loss would drop the Bruins to 6-7, making the Pac-12 South Division “champions” (love using those quotes) ineligible for a bowl. The Bruins could then could seek a bowl waiver from the NCAA if the Pac-12 can’t fill its seven bowl slots.

Great. Nothing says “bowl experience” than a team with a losing record. Though, using that logic, if Ohio State is going to be allowed in the Sugar Bowl because of some unknown rule, UCLA at least has played by the rules to get to 6-7. Those rules being set by the NCAA when it banned USC.

You’re way ahead of me if you’re thinking that Alabama can play for a national championship without winning its division, but UCLA can’t play in a bowl after “winning” its division. (Check the standings. USC is two games better than UCLA.)



Category: NCAAF

Since: Nov 2, 2006
Posted on: November 27, 2011 1:21 pm

The farce that has become the Pac-12 title game

I think UCLA should be allowed to play in a bowl game if they lose. If UCLA doesn't even play in this game, they would be 6-6 and eligible for a bowl. They would essentially be punished for "winning" their division. Maybe they should decline to play the game and let Utah play it instead since they would be 7-6 if they lose. Would that count as a loss or simply they never played?

Has there ever been before a situation where a 6-6 team qualifies for a conference championship? You shouldn't be punished because you "have" to play a championship game.

Since: Nov 19, 2006
Posted on: November 27, 2011 1:19 pm

The farce that has become the Pac-12 title game

I think that it is rather comical that UCLA goes to Eugene, where they will be destroyed by Oregon, and could lose a trip to las Vegas, where they would be destroyed by TCU in a bowl game.  So the 7 or 8 UCLA Alumni who actually go to UCLA away games get to go to Eugene instead of Las Vegas.  Now there is a deal.  The fact is that what happened this weekend in the Pac 12 South is the NCAA's worst nightmare.  USC is clearly the best team in that Division, and a Top 10 team nationally.  Instead of getting a great rematch, we now get a joke of a game.  The NCAA is going to get what it asked for.

Since: Nov 18, 2010
Posted on: November 27, 2011 1:19 pm

The farce that has become the Pac-12 title game

There should have been a provision that if one division's "champ" did not have a winning record, then the two best records in the league would play for the "championship"  
;  As a Duck fan, I think USC got shafted in the sanctions.   I would love to see an Oregon-USC or Oregon-Stanford rematch.

But I am no Larry Scott fan either!! 

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: November 27, 2011 1:05 pm

The farce that has become the Pac-12 title game

USC is playing the best football in the country right now. If Barkley and Khalid stay, they will be the consensus #1 team next year.
Goober people  may think your an idiot don't prove it by typing stupid comments. USC has more future NFL players on it's roster then LSU.
Not just 7th round picks, they have two first round top ten picks. Barkley and Khalid. They have 10 sophmores and freshman predicted to make it to the pro level.    

Pac-12 will be loaded next year with Oregon, ASU, Washington, Oregon State and USC all returning most of their players. 

Since: Nov 1, 2009
Posted on: November 27, 2011 12:55 pm

The farce that has become the Pac-12 title game

The NCAA really tried to kill USC.  Banning them from bowls and championships and then - after those 2 years - restricting scholarships for 3 more years.  Frankly, the way they're playing right now I think they're better than the Stanford and ASU teams they lost to.  I'd love to see SC play Okie St or LSU or Bama or Arkansas or VaTech or Houston - even Boise.  This ban is tough on the fans.  Barkley should go pro, he's better than Luck.  But that puts a rookie under center next year with a very talented team around him.  Maybe another 10-2 year.  with Barkley maybe undefeated. Sigh.

Since: Jun 7, 2011
Posted on: November 27, 2011 12:53 pm

The farce that has become the Pac-12 title game

skyhawk are you retarted USC recieved the second harshest penalty in NCAA history only behind SMU because they got the death penalty.  Check your facts before you say dumb a$$ stuff like that.  And to the other guy that thinks LSU has more NFL prospects than the entire Pac 12 league.  Get a clue and get over yourseld and the SEC.  IF you really want to talk about NFL then realize that USC is the greatest football factory in the history of college football, go look at all the hall of famers and all pro's that have come out of there, more than any other college in history. and that is fact.  So live in the real world not just the South or the East Coast.

Since: Aug 31, 2011
Posted on: November 27, 2011 12:40 pm

The farce that has become the Pac-12 title game

For a second there I was thinking that Dodd could write an article without mentioning O$U.

Since: Jun 24, 2011
Posted on: November 27, 2011 12:40 pm

The farce that has become the Pac-12 title game

This is what ESPN and Fox want -- bigger leagues that bring a more stable inventory and fewer points of negotiation. Ultimately, it means a more efficient market for the two broadcasters - as well as situations where a putrid division can crown a "champion" and an unbeiievably competitive division can have the two best teams in the country. The P-12 South secondaries resemble an intramural squad, they are so bad. LSU has more NFl prospects in the defensive back 4 than that entire division - and perhaps the entire P-12 conference.

By the anti-rematch logic, UCLA deserves to play for the national title before Alabama. Ludicrous.

Since: Jan 25, 2008
Posted on: November 27, 2011 12:24 pm

The farce that has become the Pac-12 title game

Chasing the dollar for a conference title game resulted in pennies... UCLA winning the game and making it to the Rose Bowl would be another reason to laugh at the BCS (as well as a Championship 1-2 match-up of a team that already beat another team and was a runner-up in its division as well). Of course, UCLA has no chance of winning at Eugene. Thanks Rick!

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: November 27, 2011 12:14 pm

The farce that has become the Pac-12 title game

USC didn't get one of the worst penalties in history, it got a slap on the wrist. This farce is also nothing compared to the crystal football game.

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