For a few precious minutes, UCLA had visions of a second straight shocking upset over Southern California at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.
Then reality set in.
Mark Sanchez passed for 269 yards and two touchdowns, USC's hard-hitting defense stuffed UCLA at every turn, and the fifth-ranked Trojans won, 28-7, yesterday to give them nine victories in the last 10 games between the crosstown rivals.
The win assured Southern Cal (11-1, 8-1 Pac-10) of an unprecedented seventh consecutive BCS bid, seven straight 11-win seasons and seven conference championships in a row. It will also make a fourth straight appearance in the Rose Bowl game, where they will meet No. 6 Penn State on New Year's Day.
UCLA stunned USC, 13-9, as a 131/2-point underdog two years ago at the Rose Bowl, bouncing the Trojans out of the BCS title game. The 33-point underdog Bruins (4-8, 3-6) inspired hopes for a repeat performance by taking a 7-0 lead in the opening four minutes, but they were unable to pose a scoring threat after that, crossing midfield just once.
Southern Cal opened its lead in the series to 43-28-7.
The Trojans rolled up 33 first downs and 478 yards of total offense while the Bruins had just seven first downs and gained only 157 yards against the national leader in total defense and scoring defense.
Virginia Tech 30, Boston College 12 -
Tyrod Taylor scored two first-half touchdowns, and Darren Evans ran for 114 yards and one TD in less than half-full Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., helping the Hokies (9-4) become the first two-time winner of the ACC championship game with a win over the No. 18 Eagles (9-4).
The Hokies, who have won three titles since leaving the Big East for the ACC in 2004, also beat the Eagles for last year's crown and earned their second consecutive trip to the Orange Bowl.
Pitt 34, Connecticut 10 -
Bill Stull threw for two touchdowns and LeSean McCoy ran for one to help the Panthers (9-3 overall, 5-2 Big East) beat the Huskies (7-5, 3-4) in East Hartford, Conn., giving Pitt its first nine-win regular season since 1982 - and a bid to the Sun Bowl.
Pittsburgh scored 24 points in the third quarter to blow open a close game in front of bowl officials, who said they would offer the Panthers an opportunity to play in the New Year's Eve game.
East Carolina 27, Tulsa 24 -
Ben Hartman kicked a 36-yard field goal with 1 minute, 43 seconds left, and the Pirates took advantage of seven turnovers to beat the Golden Hurricane (10-3) in the Conference USA championship in Tulsa, Okla.
East Carolina (9-4) earned a berth in the Liberty Bowl.
East Carolina used the league's best defense to create havoc for David Johnson, the nation's top-rated passer. Johnson threw a career-high five interceptions, including one that was returned 72 yards for a touchdown by Travis Simmons, and also fumbled.
Mike Thomas broke the game open with a 52-yard punt return for a score as
by 31-10. . . . Jahvid Best ran for 311 yards and four TDs as