Pac-12 Championship 2012: UCLA Won't Stop Stanford from Playing in Rose Bowl

Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistNovember 30, 2012

PASADENA, CA - NOVEMBER 24:  The Stanford Cardinal and the UCLA Bruins face off on the line of scrimmage at the Rose Bowl on October 13, 2012 in Pasadena, California. Stanford won 35-17.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

When the UCLA Bruins (9-3) walk into Stanford Stadium on Friday night, they might have expectations of a different outcome against the Stanford Cardinal (10-2) than they had less than a week ago at the Rose Bowl, when the Cardinal thrashed the Bruins by a score of 35-17.

There's only one problem—Stanford's got UCLA's number, and the result of this game won't be much different than what we witnessed last weekend.

UCLA is going to lose the battle in the trenches—not because of a lack of effort, but because Stanford is simply too athletic and physical for the Bruins to handle.

The Bruins' offensive line was overwhelmed by the physicality of the Cardinal's front seven and was a step behind all game long, allowing seven sacks of QB Brett Hundley and failing to open running lanes. UCLA, who averages nearly 200 rushing yards per game, gained only 73 against Stanford.

Cardinal linebacker Shayne Skov, who had five tackles against the Bruins last week, told Yahoo! Sports following the game that they won't change a thing about their defense for this game—because they simply don't have to:

We're gonna come out swinging, and we're gonna keep going until we impose our will. Hat goes off to them, but we play physical, we play hard, and we wanted to send a message because we're going to do the exact same thing next week.

Stanford's offensive line was able to wear down the Bruins front seven, opening massive holes for Stepfan Taylor, who averaged more than seven yards per carry, picking up 142 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 20 carries.

No matter what changes UCLA coach Jim Mora and his staff make, there are some things that coaching and tweaking your game plan can't account for—size, strength and ability.

Stanford doesn't lose at home, winning eight consecutive games and 19 of their last 20 at Stanford Stadium.

They've beaten UCLA in each of their past four games against one another by a combined score of 139-52.

Stanford will continue to win the battle in the trenches on both sides of the ball, leading to another lopsided victory over the Bruins and Stanford's 13th Rose Bowl appearance, breaking a tie they currently hold with—you guessed it—UCLA for the fifth-most appearances in the history of the game.