Who would have thought it? Surely, everyone in University Park is reeling this week.

The Trojan football team finished the 2009 regular season with eight wins.

Oh, they also muster just eight votes in the AP Top 25 Poll and all-in-all fail to make it an eighth straight season of achieving several benchmarks (such as consecutive 10-win seasons, Pac-10 championships and BCS Bowl appearances).

The final regular season numbers: an 8-4 overall record, including 5-4 in Pac-10 play (good for a fifth-place finish); a No. 24 ranking in the BCS Poll; and, a non-appearance in both – yes, both! – the AP Top 25 and USA Today Polls.

The students, athletes, boosters and alumni at Southern Cal are all going nuts over earning a spot in a nut-sponsored, pre-New Year’s Day non-BCS Bowl game – and there is probably no shortage of blame (such as poor defense, a young quarterback, weak running game) to pass around. It may not be fair to search for blame in an eight-win season, even with the team out of the running for a BCS bowl game for the first time since 2001.

Sure, the 21-17 loss to the Wildcats even put an end to the last thing (other than pride) Southern Cal had to play for: a chance for an eighth straight 10-win season. Now, all USC has left to play for is pride, taking on Boston College (8-4, 5-3) in the Emerald Bowl up in San Francisco on Dec. 26.

On the bright side, at least USC knows they are going to a bowl game.

Across town in Westwood, UCLA has to root against the military (Yes, the military!) to earn a berth in the second edition of the EagleBank Bowl. Alas, if Navy defeats Army this weekend, the Bruins are off to the nation’s capital to face off against Temple on Dec. 29.