November 24, 2012; Pasadena, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Brett Hundley (17) passes in the fourth quarter of the game against the Stanford Cardinal at the Rose Bowl. Stanford won 35-17. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Pac-12 Championship Pick


#17 UCLA at #8 Stanford

I have quietly enjoyed UCLA’s breakout season, and I have never really been sure why. Some things about Mora kind of irk me, and I have no real attachment to UCLA as a school or a program. I suppose it’s Brett Hundley, who I hoped would succeed after seeing so much savior pressure thrown onto his shoulders. And it may be that I just like to see USC the second best team in the city of Los Angeles. And so during the Bruins’ final game of the season against Stanford, I wanted them to win. And separate from that, I thought they stood a decent chance.

Nov 24, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Stanford Cardinal running back Stepfan Taylor (33) dives into the end zone for a touchdown against the UCLA Bruins during the game at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-US PRESSWIRE

Of course, the story book success experienced by UCLA under Coach Mora’s first year didn’t carry over to the final game. Stanford fought to a 21-10 lead at halftime, and whether or not Mora wants to admit it, the Bruins played vanilla on both sides of the ball. So, while that does nothing to take away from the fact that the Cardinal defeated UCLA, it does make things a little more interesting today. It allows the question to be asked: playing with 100% of the playbook, and having perhaps learned from last week’s mistakes, will UCLA come out like a different team?

Personally, I think it will be closer, and that the offense will perform better. But I still don’t see Stanford losing. They were doubted preseason, doubted after they collected two losses, but they beat Oregon, they’ve already beaten UCLA once, and I think they will be headed to the Rose Bowl.

Stanford 31, UCLA 28

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