EUGENE, Ore. -- The inaugural Pac-12 championship game isn't exactly the matchup the conference drew up when they announced last year the conference would split into divisions and hold a title game, conference commissioner Larry Scott acknowledged Friday just before kickoff.
Oregon (10-2) is playing UCLA (6-6) after the Bruins earned the South division berth by virtue of USC (10-2) being ineligible. So instead of a matchup between two top-10 teams, the conference gets one top-10 team and another .500 team that just fired its coach.
Oregon won 49-31 to earn the right to play in the Rose Bowl.
"Of course it's disappointing when such a strong team as USC is not allowed to participate because of the NCAA ban," Scott said. "It's not something we control. ... Of course people will be disappointed that a team that finished first in that division can't participate but it's the nature of it."
Scott pointed out that the game is still a sellout thanks in large part to the conference's decision to play the title game at the home school of the team with the best record, instead of at a neutral site. He also hoped that television ratings wouldn't suffer because of the decision to play on Friday night.
Still, he can't help but think of the hoopla that would be surrounding the game, had it been a rematch of USC's thrilling 38-35 victory over the Ducks two weeks ago.
"Of course I acknowledge there is disappointment around the fact that we've got a 6-6 team that fired their coach this week," Scott said. "But I don't spend a lot of time trying to script what happens on the field or what happens as a result of NCAA committee infractions."
Peter Yoon covers UCLA for ESPNLosAngeles.com.