There seems to be a lively discussion as to whether UCLA is already the Pac-12 South Division "champion" or something else.
If UCLA beats USC on Saturday, it's the South Division champion, with no need to split hairs.
If USC beats UCLA, the Trojans will be 7-2 in Pac-12 play and UCLA will be 5-4. Ergo, the Trojans will be ahead of the Bruins in the standings. But the Trojans are ineligible for the postseason -- and conference championship game -- due to NCAA sanctions.
The Pac-12 sent out a news release a short time ago headlined "UCLA clinches Pac-12 championship game berth."
WALNUT CREEK, Calif.--The UCLA Bruins have secured a spot in the inaugural Pac-12 Football Championship Game to be played Friday, December 2.
With Utah’s loss to Colorado earlier today, UCLA locks up a berth as the South Division representative in the Pac-12 Championship Game. Regardless of the outcome of tonight’s California-Arizona State game in Tempe, Ariz., and Saturday’s UCLA-USC game in Los Angeles, the Bruins can do no worse than finish league play in a tie with Arizona State at 5-4. Should a tie occur, UCLA will have the advantage in the tie-break procedure over Arizona State as it defeated the Sun Devils in head-to-head competition on November 5.
The Pac-12 Championship Game, which will be televised by FOX at 5 p.m. PT, will be hosted by the school with the best Conference record. At this point, either Oregon or Stanford from the North Division will host the game. Should Oregon defeat Oregon State on Saturday, it will host the Pac-12 Championship Game. Should Oregon State defeat Oregon, Stanford will host the game.
So the Bruins are not champions, at least not yet.
As for the Trojans, here's the official word from Pac-12 spokesman Dave Hirsch on whether USC can claim the South championship: "USC can not own that title. USC can say that it finished first, but not champion. Our division champions participate in the championship game, so UCLA will be considered champion, or co-champions should it finish tied with ASU."
So there you go.
USC can say it finished "first," if it beats UCLA. And the Bruins can call themselves "champions" even if it loses.
Hope everybody is satisfied with that.