LOS ANGELES (AP) — The NCAA has decided UCLA can accept a bowl invitation even if the Bruins lose the Pac-12 title game to drop to 6-7.
The NCAA approved UCLA’s bowl waiver petition on Wednesday, clearing the Bruins (6-6, 5-4 Pac-12) for the postseason before they play in Friday’s conference championship game at Oregon.
UCLA is a 31-point underdog against the powerful Ducks. The Bruins fired coach Rick Neuheisel following last weekend’s 50-0 loss to No. 9 Southern California.
Neuheisel will coach the Bruins at Oregon, but offensive coordinator Mike Johnson will take over if the Bruins are selected by a bowl.
UCLA has reached just one bowl game in the past three seasons, and athletic director Dan Guerrero says he wants to reward the Bruins’ 18 seniors by going to a bowl even while the program is in upheaval.