Saturday, December 3, 2011

USC Decides Oregon's Destiny

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First of all, CONGRATULATIONS to the Oregon Ducks on winning the first-ever Pac-12 Championship Game and earning a trip to the Rose Bowl. The Ducks (11-2) defeated the UCLA Bruins, 49-31, in a match-up that was not exactly what the Pac-12 had hoped for in it's inaugural championship game. In short, the anemic Bruins (6-7) made it to the title game by default because the USC Trojans (10-2) are on probation and banned from all post-season games this year. The Trojans easily won the Pac-12 South but thanks to the likes of Reggie Bush had to sit out the championship game and watch it on television. So unfortunately for the Pac-12, the inaugural game was not exactly a clash of titans.

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.

Here's how--

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.

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