An ode to 108 years of wild Pac-12 memories

  • Ryan McGee, ESPN Senior Citizen WriterAug 9, 2023, 07:00 AM ET Close Senior author for ESPN The Magazine and 2-time Sports Emmy winner

  • 2010, 2014 NMPA Writer of the Year

Prior to we get on with the autumn win-loss service that is real college football, let’s pause for a moment– no, make that a lots minutes– and pour one out– no, let’s pour twelve out– for the artist formally called the Pac-12 Conference.What drink? That’s

approximately you. In Southern California, now Huge Ten country, perhaps you’ll pick a double half-caf mocha oat milk latte … though, heads up, your new conference mates of the Midwest are going have some questions about your non-dairy creamer options. In the Sonoran Desert, now Huge 12 country, you can return your margarita’s prickly pear garnish back to the sands from whence it came prior to some person in a 10-gallon hat from Lubbock changes it with a can of Lone Star. And in the Bay Area, now … um … I don’t know … Mountain West country? ACC country? Y’ all ought to most likely make like melancholy Paul Giamatti in” Sideways “and just pour that 1961 Château Cheval Blanc into a Styrofoam soda cup at a hamburger joint.Editor’s Picks 1 Related However no matter where you live, what you imbibe or what school colors you wear as you dip your toes into the waves of the Pacific Coast, deep down we must all feel like bad Miles as he privately drank his fine wine with crinkle fries. Due to the fact that even if you have no allegiance to the Pac-12(hold on, sorry, bad option of words there, because clearly nobody has any obligation to the Pac-12, let me begin over)… because even if you have no ties to a conventional Pac-12 school, you may have some sort of obligation to the institution of college sports. And even if your blood runneth a Crimson Tide or a Carolina Blue or any other shade that resides well east of the Rockies, the idea of the Pac-12 being vaporized must feel at least upsetting and the extremely most, unfortunate. Super, incredibly sad.For almost 108 years, the conference never ever seemed like it was on a countdown to its death. Heck, even its name was a count-up, from the Pacific Coast Conference to the Big 5, Big 6, Pac-8, Pac-10 and that window back in June 2010 when it appeared inescapable it become the Pac-16, nabbing Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Colorado from the Big 12. Now, after deciphering a century-plus in one Friday afternoon, it’s the Pac-4. Jim Plunkett is among 12 Heisman winners to play in the Pac-12. Harry Harris/AP So, in the

time we have staying prior to the Pac-12 goes the method of Alderaan on July 1, 2024, let’s make like the 405 at 5 p.m. and slow down. Take a beat. And before we move on into a world where UCLA regularly takes a trip to Rutgers for volleyball matches, allow ourselves to glimpse into the rearview mirror and remember what made the conference and all its Pac-X numerical versions cooler than UCLA alum Karch Kiraly with his wraparound shades and the costs of his ballcap popped up.I’m talking about things like … Matt Barkley vs. Andrew Luck in the LA Coliseum in 2011, as Stanford lasted longer than USC 56-48 in

OT. The 1996 season opener that saw

Jake the Snake Plummer and Arizona State running around Brock Huard and Washington to kick a basket to set the tone for a season that ended with Sun Devils fans filling the car park of Pasadena with so many Recreational vehicles it made the Rose Bowl look like Burning Guy. How about the Pac-12’s dozen Heisman Trophy winners? How about a shoutout to Jim Plunkett and his Stanford helmet that looked method too little as he threw 1,000 passes daily in practice to encourage head coach John Ralston that he wasn’t a protective end … and then won the Heisman, a Rose Bowl and 2 Super Bowls. How about viewing UCLA QB Mark Harmon, who went 17-5 as a beginning QB in the Rose Bowl Arena on Saturdays and has starred on almost every other night as a primetime TV star? Does it get anymore Pac-12 than that?Speaking of the Rose Bowl and TV, sure, all of us know the Rose Bowl isn’t going away. Neither is TV. That’s what’s driving this entire adjustment turmoil. However without the Pac-12 filling half the stadium on our Brand-new Years Day flatscreens, will it ever be the exact same? The Granddaddy of Them All was concocted in 1902 as the Competition East-West football game, specifically designed to pit a Pacific Coast team versus a squad who rode a train in from an eastern time zone. Our televisions crackling to life, from black and white to color to 4K UHD, thanks to UCLA blue, USC gold, Washington purple … you name it, popping versus the chroma contrast of increased bushes and a Huge 10 challenger. After years of fighting to preserve that mission, even in the face of the Bowl Alliance, BCS and College Football Playoff, now that goes away. The Apple Cup. Oregon-Oregon State. The Huge Video game. They could make it through. But they might not. The powers that be swear that they are dedicated to conserving the competition games, however lest we forget they are the exact same folks a week ago who said they were dedicated to the Pac-12. no matter what occurs … we will never forget you #Pac 12AfterDark!.?.!— no context college football(@nocontextcfb )August 2, 2023 Godspeed to #Pac 12AfterDark, the hashtag that started as a Twitter(or X or whatever )joke and ended up being a bona fide marketing strategy. That technique ended up being the place where intoxicated East Coast college students rounded off their pizzas at 2 a.m. and also the place where ranked Pac-12 teams went down like those same university student trying to climb the dormitory stairs. Like 2016, when UW believed its CFP hopes had been removed by USC on the banks of Lake Washington. No. 8 Wazzu losing to unranked Cal by 34 points in 2017. Mentioning Cal and Washington, how about Marshawn Lynch and the medical cart?But let’s likewise not permit ourselves to be like those who run this realignment train and obsess about only football. The Pac-12 was likewise the kingdom of the Wizard, John Wooden. The world of Bill Walton, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and their Pyramid of Success that led to 10 nationwide hoops titles, consisting of seven in a row.Across town, Rod Dedeaux was running the very same kind of roughshod over college baseball as USC won 11 College World Series titles with lineups that consisted of Tom Seaver, Dave Kingman and Fred Lynn. The Pac-12 owns 29 CWS titles in all, shared by seven various schools. Think about the 1980s alone, when Stanford and Arizona State and USC would do fight on ballfields for conference titles trotting out the likes of Mike Mussina, Barry Bonds and Randy Johnson. And where would the Women’s College World Series be without the Pac-12? Without UCLA

and Arizona, the West Coast crucibles where the modern-day game was forged? Cheryl Miller, a USC fantastic, assisted show the conference’s supremacy throughout various sports. Jerry Wachter/Sports Illustrated through Getty Images Lisa Fernandez on the mound. Tiger Woods on the tee box. Kerri Walsh Jennings stalking the web. Cheryl Miller. Some person called Jackie Robinson manning 2nd base.Roll your eyes at the whole Conference of Champions thing, however the fact of the matter is that the Pac-12 has teamed up to win 553 nattys throughout all NCAA sports, 254 more than the next conference. And it owns more rare-earth elements than the U.S. Treasury. You may not think you have actually ever rooted for a Pac-12 athlete, but if you enjoy America, you certainly have actually cheered for one West Coast college kid at least once every four years. The conference has actually produced nearly 1,500 Olympians. They won 108 medals at the 2020 Tokyo Games alone.Will those exact same schools delight in the exact same level of success once they are scattered and covered throughout the conferences of the United States like a Waffle Home unique? Possibly. Will the professional athletes of those schools still lead the parade into the arenas of every Olympics opening events moving forward? Maybe. Someone from USC will no doubt win another Heisman Prize. Teams that once played in the Rose bowl as a member of the Pac-12 will most certainly return to Pasadena as a representative of the Huge 12 or Big Ten. Kevin Moen(26)had to weave his method through the Stanford band on his way to the end zone.

AP Photo/Oakland Tribune/Robert Stinnett However it won’t be the same. One day it will feel typical. Not to all of us, certainly not to those who still wear title rings earned as a member of the Conference of Champions. However adapting to new normals has actually become college athletics’, well, new normal. Nevertheless, among the biggest pieces of that new typical pie chart ought to constantly bring the label “stuff that we miss out on.”So, please, take the next year to take in that Pac-12 sunlight one more time prior to it is sliced up and delivered off to every corner

of the college conference map, stuffed in devices bags and loaded onto aircrafts at LAX and PHX bound for baseball games in College Park and swim fulfills in Fort Worth.And somebody call my man Gary Tyrrell, aka the Stanford band member who was run over by Cal Bear Kevin Moen at the end of The Play in 1982. Inform him to start heating up. I have actually never ever heard” Taps “used a trombone, and definitely not a bent trombone. But that also feels type of apropos for this moment, doesn’t it? Particularly if it is played after dark.

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