The game ended. The Pacific-12 Conference awarded its first championship game trophy to the University of Oregon. Someone handed out roses to celebrating players. And then, a bang-up after-party sprouted across the way from Autzen Stadium at the Len Casanova Center.
Friday's verdict: Oregon 49, UCLA 31. ... USC unimpressed.
After, here was Bruins coach Rick Neuheisel on the second floor of the Cas Center, explaining how fleeting the moments are in sports. And right about that time, you could hear the rumble from beneath his feet and hear cheers and joy coming from the Ducks locker room. A moment like that cuts deep.
This can't be all there is for the Ducks this season.
Oregon must finally finish a football season with a big victory. No other way around it. Fans know it. Players know it. Coaches know it. The Ducks can't just show up at another Bowl Championship Series game -- their third in three seasons -- and serve as part of the game-day pageantry. Especially not with USC snickering with superiority, as if it's the real champ.