Friday Night Bites: Reluctant Pac prep
• Pac-12 Championship Game: UCLA @ No. 8 Oregon, 8:00 p.m. ET, FOX: If this weren’t the inaugural Pac-12 title game, it wouldn’t even be worth mentioning. The Bruins are the technical South champions, but the honor of the best record belongs to the postseason-banned Trojans. Everything about this game is ridiculous: The conference’s first title match is destined to be remembered as a joke; Rick Neuheisel wraps his coaching tenure at his alma mater playing primetime cannon fodder; and for comparison’s sake, there’s a MAC championship starting an hour earlier that looks like the hot television ticket of the evening. It’s nobody’s fault, but the Bruins simply shouldn’t be here.
UCLA’s 84th-ranked defense is surrendering an average of 412 yards and 31 points per game. The Bruins will travel to a raucous venue to take on the nation’s No. 3 scoring offense, on a short week. And though Oregon’s defense is no great threat, the Bruins’ repeatedly misfiring Pistol scheme needed a field goal to surmount the likes of Washington State.
Really, it’s what might have been that will frustrate viewers. They met just two weeks ago, but I’d watch a USC-Oregon rematch in a heartbeat over the needless walkthrough we’ll be subjected to tonight. Worst case scenario, the Ducks come out flat two weeks in a row and embarrass themselves en route to a Rose Bowl berth. As of this writing, I’ve seen the Ducks favored by as many as 32 points. Stewart Mandel is predicting a 59-23 Ducks victory, and I think that’s being kind. Perhaps he meant to type “2 or 3″?