At UCLA, it was a signature victory. At Arizona State, it was a flub.
Glass half full. And glass half-empty. Judgments on UCLA's thrilling 29-28 win over Arizona State depend on where you stand.
First UCLA: The Bruins now control their Pac-12 South Division fate. If they win out -- at Utah, Colorado, at USC -- they will play in the Pac-12 championship game no matter what the Sun Devils do.
And if that happens, coach Rick Neuheisel will be back in 2012, without question.
But the Bruins winning out with that schedule is a long shot. Most would project 1-2. Then the question becomes what would make Neuheisel safe? Is 6-6 good enough with another loss to USC? What about 7-5 with a loss to USC? Or does he need to beat USC, however the Bruins get bowl eligible?
Then Arizona State: The Sun Devils have it much easier than the Bruins: At Washington State, Arizona and California. Most would project 3-0 for the Sun Devils, though most didn't project a face-plant at UCLA. The guess here is 3-0 would get the Sun Devils a berth in the conference title game. And that means a puncher's shot at the Rose Bowl.
Maybe the Sun Devils needed this slap in the face, though the hope was they were past needing a "disrespect" angle. They surely will be annoyed by the talk of "same old Sun Devils" this week. This is their second road defeat to a clearly inferior foe (the first was at Illinois).
But your kicker can't go 0-3 on field goals as Alex Garoutte did, even if none were chip shots. You can't get gashed for a 76-yard TD. You can't give up a 33-yard pass on third-and-29.
You can't waste 168 yards rushing from Cameron Marshall or 131 yards receiving from Gerell Robinson. Or a day you win the turnover battle 2-0 and the penalty yards battle 50 to 75. Or a game when your defense record four sacks vs. one by your opponent.
The scoreboard always tells the ultimate story.
Bruins quarterback Kevin Prince was efficient, completing11 of 17 passes for 196 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. He also rushed for 61 yards on 15 carries. His numbers weren't as good as Sun Devils quarterback Brock Osweiler, just as Derrick Coleman (119) had fewer rushing yards than Marshall.
The stat sheet strongly suggests an Arizona State victory.
But the final score suggests otherwise. And the Bruins' glass is just a bit fuller in the South than the Sun Devils' at present.