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Dr. Saturday

Stanford beats UCLA again, grabs a Rose Bowl berth and asserts itself as the Pac-12′s most consistent team

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday

View photo

.

(US Presswire)

Apparently UCLA didn't roll over last week, it's really just not as good as Stanford.

The Cardinal proved their dominance over teams from L.A. with a 27-24 win over UCLA in the lightly attended Pac-12 title game.

Stanford will play in the Rose Bowl, its third consecutive BCS bowl game.

After Stanford defeated UCLA 35-17 in the regular season finale last week, an L.A. Times columnist questioned whether coach Jim Mora had lost the game on purpose in an effort to face Stanford in the Pac-12 title game instead of Oregon. Mora denied the claim and Stanford validated Friday night that its win was not a product of UCLA lying down. The Cardinal is just that good.

It's amazing that in 2006, Stanford was 1-11 and had become an afterthought in college football. At the end of the season, athletic director Bob Bowlsby hired Jim Harbaugh and Stanford's fortunes changed. With quarterback Andrew Luck at the helm, the Cardinal went 31-8 from 2009-2011. Add in this year's 11-2 record and Stanford has been one of the most successful teams in the country in the past four years. Even though Harbaugh moved on after the 2010 season, the Cardinal have not missed a step with coach David Shaw.

And now, with freshman quarterback Kevin Hogan taking the reins of the program, Stanford looks like it's going to continue to be a force for the foreseeable future.

But let's not forget about Mora. UCLA achieved far more than anyone anticipated. It defeated rival USC and made the Pac-12 title game without falling into it by default. UCLA has to feel good about its future with Mora, freshman quarterback Brett Hundley and a fan base that's ready to believe in the Bruins again.

It's possible that the Pac-12 title game matchup between UCLA and Stanford could become a yearly occurrence.

- - -
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