Stanford and UCLA played a wildly entertaining high-scoring game over the weekend that largely flew under the radar given the other significant games in the Pac-12 this past weekend with USC looking to ruin Notre Dame’s playoff hopes and the Apple Cup carrying its own playoff and Pac-12 championship implications. But if you watched it, Stanford head coach David Shaw believes you got a glimpse into the future of the Pac-12 championship battles to come between the Cardinal and Bruins.
Praising his counterpart at UCLA, Chip Kelly, Shaw lauded the first-year UCLA head coach on a fine job this season after Stanford topped UCLA 49-42 Saturday in the Rose Bowl.
“I truly believe this is the future of the Pac-12 Championship Game right here,” Shaw said after the game. “What (Kelly) is starting to do here, I’m really excited for him. Thankful that we won the game today, but give a lot of credit to him. It’s going to be a lot of fun watching these two teams play over the next few years.”
UCLA ended its season with a record of just 3-9, but the Bruins played better in the second half of the season and scored a highlight win against USC, which put the rival Trojans on the brink of not being bowl-eligible (which became official with a loss to Notre Dame). Despite the record, UCLA became a fun team to watch, and Shaw certainly seemed to agree with that sentiment. Of course, Shaw also is taking a shot at USC, whether he intended that to be the case or not.
Stanford and UCLA have met in the Pac-12 Championship Game once, with the Cardinal topping the Bruins 27-24 in 2012. That was UCLA’s last appearance in the game. Stanford has played in the game three times since.