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UCLA's bowl position would improve with win over USC

Bruins would have a chance to play in the Poinsettia Bowl if either the Trojans or Arizona lose the final two games. A bid for an at-large game could be hard to get.

November 23, 2009|By Chris Foster
  • UCLA receiver Nelson Rosario makes a leaping catch over Arizona State's Deveron Carr in Saturday's victory.
UCLA receiver Nelson Rosario makes a leaping catch over Arizona State's… (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles…)

UCLA has one opportunity for a bowl game affiliated with the Pacific 10 Conference.

The Bruins can finish tied for sixth if either USC or Arizona loses its final two games. That would allow Poinsettia Bowl officials to select which teams go to San Diego for the Dec. 23 game.

Meanwhile, the chances of getting an at-large spot for a non-Pac-10 bowl get difficult, but not impossible, if the Bruins lose to USC on Saturday and finish with a 6-6 record.

The Bruins might get caught in a numbers game, as teams with a winning record must receive at-large bowl bids first. As of Sunday, there are 52 teams with at least seven victories. Of those, 49 will go to bowl games affiliated with their conference. The remaining three would get a bowl bid, leaving 13 bowl spots currently open, a number that could go up if Texas qualifies for the Bowl Championship Series title game and if Texas Christian and/or Boise State get bids to BCS games.

There are 15 more teams that could reach seven victories. Some are unlikely to get there given the difficult final games -- Texas A&M plays No. 3 Texas, Florida State plays No. 1 Florida, etc.

The Atlantic Coast Conference and Big 12 are the only conferences that have yet to fill all their bowl slots.

Brehaut sits

Nearly a month after Coach Rick Neuheisel said he would get Richard Brehaut playing time, the freshman quarterback has been left mostly watching.

Brehaut played one mop-up series in a 43-7 victory over Washington State on Nov. 14 and did not get in the game against Arizona State.

"I feel badly that I didn't get him in this last one," Neuheisel said. "I still have it in mind to get him in and will work to get him in."

Asked if the closeness of the Arizona State game affected the decision, Neuheisel said, "Probably, if I had to be bluntly honest, that's probably right."

Hester sits too

Cornerback Aaron Hester did not play against Arizona State after an increased workload during practice leading into the game. Hester, a starter when the season began, has played briefly in one game since suffering a fractured fibula against San Diego State in the opener.

Neuheisel said health is not the issue.

"It's more about consistency," Neuheisel said. "He's starting to get better, but on the practice field there are too many things with assignments that are not done the way they need to be done."

No Mobley

Willie Mobley, the defensive tackle who UCLA hoped would plug a need next season, said he would attend Arizona next season.

Mobley, who left Ohio State in August, tried to transfer to UCLA, but was unable to gain admission.

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