Stanford, UCLA rematch presents unique challenges

LOS ANGELES — UCLA cornerback Aaron Hester is confident in his preparation for Friday's Pac-12 championship game against Stanford, a team the Bruins played only last Saturday.

No problem with a quick turnaround?

"I have done this before," Hester said.

In eighth grade, Hester said, his Gardena Mohicans played the Banning Pilots in a California Pop Warner game on a Saturday and then again five days later, winning both.

The scenario, and stakes, will be a lot different when UCLA visits Stanford Stadium for a game that will determine the Pac-12's representative in the Rose Bowl.

Last week in Pasadena, Stanford defeated the South Division-champion Bruins, 35-17, to clinch the North Division title and set up a rare college football rematch.

It will be the first time since 1935 that two major college teams will play each other in back-to-back games in the same season, and the first time since 1919 that teams from the same conference will do so, according to the website

In 1935, Detroit defeated Villanova, 19-15, on Oct. 26, and then again, 13-7, on Nov. 2.

In the first two games of the 1919 season, Agricultural College of Colorado, now known as Colorado State, defeated Wyoming on Sept. 27 and Oct. 4 in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference games.

In 1916, Washington defeated California in back-to-back November games that were played 12 days apart in what was then known as the Pacific Coast Conference.

Nearly a century later, the conference title is up for grabs when UCLA and Stanford play for the second time in less than a week.

"It's crazy," UCLA defensive end Datone Jones said. "I feel like this is an NBA game, where we're in a best-of-seven."

Though rare for college teams, quick turnarounds matching the same opponents are more common in the NFL.

In the final week of the 2009 season, for example, the New York Jets played the Cincinnati Bengals, the Dallas Cowboys played the Philadelphia Eagles and the Green Bay Packers played the Arizona Cardinals.

Six days later in the playoffs, the Jets defeated the Bengals for the second time in less than a week and the Cowboys topped the Eagles.

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