At 6-6 with an interim coach and on the wrong end of a 31-point spread for this Friday’s Pac-12 championship game against Oregon, UCLA stands a pretty good chance to finish the regular season at 6-7. Yet, the Bruins had applied for a bowl waiver from the NCAA in hopes that, in the event UCLA finished with a losing record, they could still go to a bowl game.
That waiver has been granted, according to an official statement from the school.
“As a program, we appreciate the NCAA approving our petition for a bowl waiver,” said UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero in a release. “We will be able to give our 18 seniors one more chance to represent their university and end their collegiate careers on a high note, regardless of the outcome of this Friday’s Pac-12 Championship Game. We’d like to thank the NCAA for considering the unique situation in which we find ourselves this year and rewarding us with this opportunity.”
The reasoning behind the NCAA move is really pretty simple. UCLA made the Pac-12 championship game by default because of USC’s sanctions and the Pac-12 is already struggling to fill all its bowl slots. No matter what happens in the conference championship game, the Pac-12 looks like it will send two teams — the conference champion and Stanford — to a BCS bowl. That leaves six non-BCS bowl slots to be filled by five bowl eligible teams.
Should UCLA lose the Pac-12 title game and their bowl — most likely the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl — they would end the season at 6-8.
North Texas (represent!) made the New Orleans Bowl in 2001 with a 5-6 regular season record. Elite company indeed.