It was really quite simple.
All USC had to do was beat unranked cross-city rival UCLA and the ONEPETE Trojans would have been headed to their much-coveted national championship game. Meanwhile, the LSU Tigers would have been on their way to SoCal for a first-ever appearance at the legendary Rose Bowl on New Year's Day and a chance to play for the runner-up position.
Calling a Rose Bowl matchup with Michigan one of the biggest game in LSU's long and illustrious football history is no overstatement. It would have been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to face off against one of the greatest football programs in the country in one of football's most acclaimed venues.
It's a stage that outshines even the Sugar Bowl in the Superdome, where LSU won the 2003 national championship by beating Oklahoma. The game would have paid a fortune in exposure, respectability and cold cash.
Tiger fans were so hungry for the Rose Bowl matchup that they pre-bought more than 43,000 tickets as of Friday, or enough to fill more than half of the stadium's 91,000 seats.
Then there's the personal element for me. I'm seven months into being a Southern Californian and wanted nothing more than to see my beloved Tigers play just a couple of hours up the interstate.
The stage was set Saturday for all of this to happen. All USC had to do was win.
But no. Those overrated Trojans couldn't manage to pull it off. Instead, they delivered yet another letdown to dynasty-starved Coach Pete Carrol.
Now we all wait while the humans and computers decide on Sunday whether LSU remains Rose Bowl bound or heads instead to the Sugar or Orange bowls.
Regardless of the outcome, USC's lastest debacle just adds fuel to a fire that has been building among Tiger fans ever since attempts by Carrol and the Trojan Nation to eliminate from the history books LSU's BCS national championship in 2003 and replace it with their Associated Press national championship of that same year.
This rivalry just keeps getting hotter.