USC tight end Fred Davis, an Ohio native, went into last year's game against UCLA confident the Trojans would win their regular-season finale and play Ohio State in the Bowl Championship Series title game.
UCLA dashed Davis' hopes with a 13-9 victory that sent the Trojans to the Rose Bowl against Michigan.
But a potential matchup between eight-ranked USC and Davis' home state Buckeyes once again could be possible.
If USC beats UCLA on Saturday, the Trojans will win their sixth consecutive Pacific 10 Conference title and will play in the Rose Bowl for the third consecutive season.
Ohio State, third in the BCS standings, might be headed to Pasadena if No. 1 Missouri defeats Oklahoma in the Big 12 Conference championship game and No. 2 West Virginia beats Pittsburgh.
"To play Ohio State would be big for me," Davis said Wednesday. "I know the coaches and some of the players. I was hoping it would happen last year, but it didn't work out."
Davis has worked himself into a potential first-round NFL draft pick this season.
The senior from Toledo has caught a team-best 49 passes and is averaging 15.4 yards a reception. Davis has impressed most after the catch, straight-arming some defenders and running or hurdling over others.
"In the past years, I didn't get to show my talents as much as I probably could have, but things happen for a reason and I'm appreciative to be in the situation I'm in," said Davis, who has scored six touchdowns.
Davis, a finalist for the John Mackey Award as the nation's top tight end, said he could hardly wait to play his final regular-season game Saturday.
"It's gone so fast," he said. "When you're going through it your first few years it seems slow, but then everything starts to go quick. It's going to be fun, definitely, to play one last time at the Coliseum. I need to go out the right way."
Junior safety Josh Pinkard, who was arrested in May on suspicion of driving under the influence, recently pleaded no contest to alcohol-related reckless driving, his attorney said.
Pinkard, 21, suffered a season-ending knee injury during training camp and is redshirting.
Attorney Carmen Trutanich said Pinkard was sentenced to 36 months of probation and was ordered to pay a fine.
During a scrimmage drill, the defense tipped a pass by quarterback John David Booty and end Kyle Moore came down with the ball for an interception.
The scene was reminiscent of last year's UCLA game when linebacker Eric McNeal tipped a pass and then clutched the ball as he fell to the turf.
Asked what he was thinking when the ball got tipped into the air, Coach Pete Carroll said, "I was just wondering if someone was going to catch it."
No memories flashed of last year's UCLA game?
"I'm not that quick," he said, chuckling.
Linebacker Keith Rivers, who sat out against Arizona State because of an ankle sprain, is on track to start against UCLA, Carroll said. . . . Defensive tackle Fili Moala (concussion) was held out again. . . . Right guard Chilo Rachal did not practice for a second day because of flu symptoms, but he said he would try to return today. Right tackle Drew Radovich also was slowed by stomach problems, Carroll said.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times