Tonight, that dream will be either made or broken as No. 8 Stanford (10-2, 8-1 Pac-12) hosts No. 16 UCLA (9-3, 6-3) in the Pac-12 Championship Game, with the winner automatically advancing to the prestigious Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day.
I can’t guarantee a winner tonight, but here are the changes each team will look to make if it wants to represent the Pac-12 at the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day.
As Stanford prepares for a rematch with UCLA, one key difference in the starting lineup has gone mostly unnoticed. Ben Rhyne, a redshirt sophomore from Charlotte, N.C., will most likely start at punter on Friday night for the first time in his Stanford career.
Stanford continues to climb in the national polls after earning its spot in the Pac-12 Championship game with a win over UCLA last night, possibly all the way up to No. 6 in the BCS when the standings are released tonight. Daniel Zychlinski’s injury and Terrence Stephens’ absence might hurt the Card in the rematch on Friday.
Football preview: Kicker Williamson returns with a mature mindset; Montgomery, Terrell poised to dazzle in return game
It wasn’t supposed to end that way. With the Fiesta Bowl tied 38-38 in the waning moments of the fourth quarter, a surgical Andrew Luck had just engineered what appeared to be the game-winning drive against a helplessly baffled Oklahoma State defense. Three seconds left in regulation and it couldn’t have been scripted better. Stanford placekicker Jordan Williamson lined up for a 35-yard field goal attempt in front of almost 14 million viewers, on the brink of vaulting the Cardinal to its second consecutive BCS bowl victory.