Bumped from the diaries. Ladies and gentleman godblesstyus95 points us to the elephant in the room. GO BRUINS. -N
A win over Cal this weekend sets into motion what I have been fearing for the last couple of weeks: a "Doomsday Scenario" where, by sure luck and happenstance, a season full of unexpected mishaps and upsets produces a Pac 10 Champion (and hence BCS participant) with 2 conference losses. A scenario where, at 8-4 or better, the Bruins, losers to pathetic Utah and Notre Dame, would likely find themselves giddy at the top of the Pac 10. And let's face it Bruins Nation: if Dorrell wins the Pac 10 and goes to a BCS bowl game, the chances he gets fired are, well, fairly hopeless.
It certainly has happened before. 1993 comes to mind, when the Bruins finished 8-4, with 2 Pac 10 losses to Cal and Arizona St., and wound up playing in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1st, 1994.
This season, unlike those of recent years, have 5 teams (UCLA, USC, Cal, Arizona St. and Oregon) that all have a legitimate shot at winning the conference title. Three of them (Cal, Oregon, and USC) already have one loss. Remarkably, of those 5 teams, only Cal and Oregon have played each other already(!). Assuming one team doesn't run the table on the others (unlikely given how this year has unfolded), a season of unprecedented parity will leave each one of these teams with at least 2 or 3 losses before it's all said and done.
Of the 5 teams, UCLA by far has the easiest road, so to speak. They will play all 4 of the other contenders without ever having to leave Los Angeles.
While Dorrell and his minions will certainly spin doctor a successful conference finish, it won't be so much what the Bruins do, but what the other contenders are up against.
A win over injury-riddled Cal would be a good start, getting them to 4-0 in conference, 2 games clear of the Bears with a tie-breaker, with Cal then having to travel to ASU the next weekend.
USC, still the most feared but appearing more and more mediocre each week, arguably has the most difficult task, having to play Cal, Oregon, and ASU all on the road.
ASU, currently leading the Pac 10 at 4-0, would be a close second, having to play Cal, at Oregon, at UCLA, and USC all in succession.
And then there's Oregon, who right now appears to be the best Pac 10 team, but already saddled with a home loss to Cal, having to play USC and ASU back to back, followed by Arizona and UCLA on the road. Oh, and don't forget they'll have to do that without 2 of their top receivers (Paysinger and Colvin, lost for the year to injury).
Protect their home turf against their Pac 10 foes, one feat that Dorrell has actually accomplished with a modicum of success, and beat a couple of 2-5 teams on the road, momentum on their side, and the Doomsday Scenario is complete.
So it's all really set up nice for Dorrell and his Bruins. A season of unprecedented parity, unexpected defeats of preseason favorites Cal and USC, a "what better can you ask for" home schedule, devastating injuries to other contenders, has paved the road for a very Lavinesque finish. Really, it doesn't even seem an idiot like Dorrell could screw this up, can he?
I know, I know, the way they looked against Utah and Notre Dame, and you're thinking "no way" they'll win the Pac 10. For sure, even with the season setting up so nicely for Dorrell, I still expect at least a couple of ugly losses in store for this team. 4 of the last 6: that's all it will take. Doomsday.