But there is no doubt that USC has been a thorn on Oregon's side this season. On November 19 the Trojans went to Eugene and stunned the then-No. 4 Ducks, 38-35, ending Oregon's national title hopes. But even if Oregon had won the game, the Trojans would have indirectly ended their title chances anyway.
Had Oregon beaten USC they would have climbed to No. 3 (behind #1 LSU and #2 Alabama) because then-No. 2 Oklahoma State lost to Iowa State. Since Alabama wasn't playing in a conference title game, Oregon would've had an opportunity to leapfrog them by winning the Pac-12 title game. But unfortunately for the Ducks, the title game carried no weight because they were playing anemic UCLA. Had it been USC, it would've been a different story. A win over the Trojans (No. 9 in the AP Poll) would have definitely carried the necessary weight to catapult Oregon to the No. 2 ranking and a trip to the national title game.
It's all academic since USC eliminated Oregon by beating them on the field-- but even if they hadn't, their suspension from post-season would have stagnated the Ducks at No. 3 anyway. So no matter what would've happened, Oregon's national title destiny (or lack there of) was in USC's hands. What a bummer!
But the Rose Bowl is a nice little consolation prize, I would say.