Friday, December 2, 2011

Good Luck Ducks: Inaugural Pac-12 Championship Edition

Just six days after the conclusion of the regular season that saw a crushing Civil War victory by the Quack Attack comes the inaugural Pac-12 Championship Game. Not only is it scheduled on an odd night, but the decision was made prior to the season to award the team with the overall best record in the conference the right to host the game. Therefore, this marks the third consecutive week that the Ducks will play at Autzen Stadium. Attempts will be made to make this a "neutral site" game, but the game will likely be sparsely attended by the blue and gold clad UCLA Bruins fans.

UCLA comes in as the de facto Pac-12 South Champions despite an overall record of 6-6. The Bruins had to petition (successfully) the NCAA governing body in order to be permitted to play in a bowl game should they lose to the Ducks tonight and are only in the game because of an upset loss by Utah last week against Colorado. The Bruins did themselves no favors by losing to USC last week 50-0 and just fired their head coach, Rick Neuheisel.

Speaking of Neuheisel, who went 21-28 in his 4 seasons in L.A., Oregon fans don't like him very much. I believe it all started when he ran up the score against the Ducks in a bowl game way back when against Colorado by calling for a fake punt with his team up 38-6 late in the game. He cemented his legacy when he took the head coaching job with the rival Washington Huskies, with which at one point he celebrated a victory at Autzen by jumping up and down on the 'O' in the center of the field. Neuheisel's Bruins have not been competitive in recent years against Oregon, however, with the Ducks outscoring UCLA 84-33 in the last two games. Tonight's game is not expected to be close, either, but you can never tell what a team who has just lost their coach will do. (Neuheisel will coach the team for this game.) This is big for the Ducks as a victory means they will play in the Rose Bowl for the second time in three seasons.

Above footage from the 2010 UCLA/Oregon game at Autzen.

Game time is 5:00 PST with national coverage on FOX. Quack Quack!

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