Want another reason to hate UCLA, Trojan fans? You probably don’t need one, but this is UCLA week, which means hating the Bruins is a natural feeling, as normal as your morning coffee or the Dodgers losing in October or the Angels having insufficient pitching to help Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani.
Why not have more reasons to hate UCLA, leading up to kickoff this Saturday evening in the Arroyo Seco against the Men of Troy? We have one, and it’s connected to the flow of the 2022 Pac-12 football season.
We’ll include some other reasons as well, but we lead with a tie-in to ESPN and its college football pregame show, College GameDay:
FIRST THINGS FIRST
ESPN announced over the weekend that College GameDay will head to Bozeman, Mont., for the Montana State-Montana game on Nov. 19.
THE BIG QUESTION
Would USC-UCLA have been the College GameDay game for this week had the Bruins not lost to Arizona?
USC-UCLA IS THE BIGGEST GAME IN WEEK 12
USC-UCLA is legitimately the best and biggest college football game of Week 12.
Utah-Oregon is the only other especially big game. A look at the schedule proves it.
ILLINOIS AT MICHIGAN
Illinois at Michigan would have been a much bigger game if the Illini had not lost two straight games to fall out of the driver’s seat in the Big Ten West. It’s now a jumbled mess with Iowa and Purdue having the best chances of winning the division.
GEORGIA AT KENTUCKY
Kentucky was a top-10 team in September but has completely collapsed since then. The Wildcats lost to Vanderbilt at home this past Saturday. Coach Mark Stoops will make significant changes to his staff. This is just not that big a matchup compared to preseason and September expectations.
MIAMI AT CLEMSON
Before the season began, this was supposed to be an ACC Championship Game preview. Instead, Miami has completely crashed and burned this year under Mario Cristobal.
Big game for the Buckeyes this week? Nah, just Maryland. OSU should cruise.
TENNESSEE AT SOUTH CAROLINA
This game would be a lot more interesting if South Carolina was a good team … but the Gamecocks got blown out by Florida and just aren’t particularly impressive this year. Spencer Rattler has not worked out at quarterback. Tennessee should frankly blow the doors off the Gamecocks. This is not a big game, though it had the potential to be one. South Carolina didn’t hold up its end of the bargain.
TCU AT BAYLOR
This is a very important game, and it’s also a nasty rivalry dating back to the old Southwest Conference, but Baylor has fallen considerably this year after winning the Big 12 and the Sugar Bowl last year. It’s a good game and definitely a matchup to watch, but it’s not as sexy as it could have been because of Baylor’s struggles.
UCLA LOSES TO ARIZONA
UCLA losing to Arizona didn’t destroy the significance of this week’s game against USC, but it certainly reduced it.
UCLA knocked itself out of the playoff chase.
Dorian Thompson-Robinson’s Heisman Trophy hopes took a huge, possibly fatal, blow.
UCLA lost its second game of the season.
WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN
If UCLA had beaten Arizona, both teams would be 9-1 and in the playoff hunt.
Both teams would have had QBs with real Heisman chances.
Both teams would have good New Year’s Six bowl odds with a win in this rivalry game.
Now, only USC has those opportunities. UCLA does not.
This would have been the ultimate high-stakes game if UCLA had not stumbled against Arizona.
It’s still a big game, but not nearly as big as it could have been.
That certainly might have affected College GameDay’s (ESPN’s) thought process.
Oregon losing to Washington reduced the significance of Utes-Ducks. It’s still a big game to be sure, but not as big as it could have been, much like USC-UCLA after the Bruins’ loss.
COLLEGE GAMEDAY IN 2022
College GameDay went to Knoxville for Alabama-Tennessee on Oct. 15 instead of USC-Utah.
Keep in mind that Bama-Vols was a CBS game, not an ESPN/ABC game.
It’s true that ESPN has a tie-in with the SEC, but ESPN also has a tie-in with the Pac-12.
ESPN certainly could have come to UCLA for this game against USC.
OCTOBER 15 AND UCLA
UCLA’s win over Utah on Oct. 8 meant that Utah-USC on Oct. 15 was not a battle of two teams with perfect records in Pac-12 play. UCLA and Oregon were picked as the College GameDay game for Oct. 22.
They both had perfect Pac-12 records when they met in Eugene.
UCLA very possibly prevented USC and Lincoln Riley from getting a GameDay slot on Oct. 15.
One other note here: Knoxville (Tennessee Vols) was already a GameDay site this season before Oct. 15. It was the September 24 site for Florida-Tennessee.
UCLA very possibly prevented USC from getting an ESPN College GameDay game on both Oct. 15 and this week on Nov. 19.
UCLA beat Utah to mess with the Utah-USC game. It lost to Arizona to diminish the national significance of USC-UCLA.
Thanks a lot, Bruins.
Chris Fowler has still not called one Lincoln Riley USC game this season.
The Trojans have not received nearly as much national game coverage from top announcing crews as many expected or hoped.
However, as we noted here, that is expected to change for the Notre Dame game on Nov. 26.