As of Monday, USC Football is ranked inside the top nine of the College Football Playoff rankings. As of Monday, UCLA is ranked inside the top 12 of the College Football Playoff rankings. The two teams will face off in two weeks, in the most highly-anticipated USC-UCLA game in nearly a decade (at the least).
Also on Monday, however, it was reported by PAC-12 Insider Jon Wilner that there are only two time slots available for that game. It's a problem because one of those time slots would be wildly disappointing for the Trojans. One of those time slots is 5:00 p.m. PT, which isn't awful, as an 8 o'clock game on the east coast would at least be 'prime time.'
The CFP committee would probably be willing to stay up for what is likely to be a top 10 matchup that week. And that's what it likely will be. Each team is likely to be 9-1 at the time they face off, and that is very likely to mean that both teams will be inside the top 10. Again, before the new CFP rankings even came out this week, USC was in the top 9 and UCLA was in the top 12.
The jumps they need to make are not huge, and USC plays Colorado to secure a top 10 ranking this week and UCLA plays Arizona to secure a top 10 ranking this week. This is why it would be disastrous for the PAC-12 conference, if they end up getting their other time slot option. That would be 7:30 p.m. PT next Saturday...
Realistically, a high amount of the CFP selection committee isn't going to be awake for the USC-UCLA game if it's at 10:30 p.m. on the east coast.
They at least will likely not be awake for the whole USC Football-UCLA game next Saturday if it starts at 10:30 p.m. their time. The game would end at 2 a.m. Be real about this; plenty of the CFP selection committee isn't going to be watching that whole game if it starts that late. It's important to remember that it still very well could start at 5:00 p.m. PT, but the problem is deeper.
The problem is a PAC-12 problem. That's because the other game that will get the 7:30 p.m. PT time slot if USC doesn't get it is the Utah-Oregon game. On Monday, Utah was ranked 14th in the CFP ranking, and Oregon was ranked eighth. Both of these two games are MASSIVE contests for the conference, and one is going to just be more or less disregarded.
This is why it was important for Mike Bohn to get USC as far from the PAC-12 as possible. USC's move to the Big Ten in the offseason has proven once again to be arguably the best move of Bohn's tenure at SC, and that includes the move to hire Lincoln Riley.