Bruins-Buffs is a bad, interesting matchup
First off, Buffaloes coach Jon Embree is UCLA receiver Taylor Embree's father. As the elder Embree told the L.A. Times, "This will be bragging rights for eternity."
Then there's this: Embree and UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel have known each other for a long time. "I stayed with the Embrees when I first moved to Colorado," Neuheisel said of his time as a Buffaloes assistant coach in 1994.
Colorado is riding a 22-game road losing skid, but Embree and his quarterback, Tyler Hansen, came very close to guaranteeing victory after the Buffs picked up their first Pac-12 win last weekend against Arizona.
If they are right, that won't be good for Neuheisel. It could get him fired. As you might have heard, he's on a very hot seat.
Ah, but even if the Bruins lose and fall to 5-6, they won't be eliminated from the Pac-12 South Division race. Heck, if UCLA, Arizona State and Utah all lose their final two games, the Bruins would go to the Pac-12 championship game at 5-7 but not be eligible for a bowl game. Even if they won the conference championship with a monumental upset, they'd need a special waiver from the NCAA to represent the Pac-12 in the Rose Bowl, which would be horrifying in the conference offices.
Adam Maya of the Orange County Register even noted that going to the Pac-12 championship game might not be a good thing for the Bruins and Neuheisel. How through the looking glass is this logic:
Since UCLA is most likely to go 1-1 during the next two weeks (at home against Colorado, at USC) and finish 6-6, its best-case scenario would be for ASU or Utah to go 2-0 and win the division. That would keep the Bruins out of the Pac-12 title game and protect their bowl eligibility.
Funny thing is, the logic is sound. At 6-7 and losers of the Pac-12 championship game, the Bruins still would require a waiver from the NCAA to play in a bowl game, one that the NCAA likely wouldn't grant if there were winning teams not getting bowl invitations.
So there's a lot going on in and around this poor-to-middling matchup that likely will be watched by a half-full Rose Bowl.