Pac-12 Concludes on a Positive Note, but Uncertainty Looms for the Two Remaining Schools

by Michael Nguyen
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College Football Playoff

In the customary fashion of a conference commissioner, George Kliavkoff handed over the Pac-12 Championship trophy to Washington coach Kalen DeBoer on Friday night and swiftly made his exit. Kliavkoff, who had been at the epicenter of the Pac-12’s tumultuous journey, had good reason to deflect the spotlight, especially considering that this would likely mark the conference’s final championship game.

While the third-ranked Huskies celebrated their 34-31 victory over the fifth-ranked Oregon, securing a spot in the College Football Playoff, there was a palpable sense of melancholy about what lay behind. Both teams were poised to become rivals in the Big Ten Conference from the next season onwards.

“It is disheartening to witness this as the final football game,” DeBoer lamented. “Moreover, it was an acknowledgment of how formidable the conference was this year. At one point, eight teams were ranked in the Top 25, and we faced off against the best among them, even squaring off against one of them twice. I doubt anyone else in the nation has endured what we have.”

Now, the Pac-12 undergoes a transformation, becoming the Pac-2 with only Oregon State and Washington State remaining. These two institutions found themselves left behind, and they recently announced a six-game scheduling alliance with the Mountain West.

What the future holds beyond the next season is shrouded in uncertainty. Oregon State and Washington State might consider a merger with the Mountain West or contemplate rebuilding the Pac-12 by recruiting top teams from the Group of Five conferences. Alternatively, they may choose to outright join the Mountain West.

The Conference of Champions has sadly evolved into the Conference of Could’ve Beens.

Oregon quarterback Bo Nix expressed, “The Pac-12 has held a significant place in history for a long time. I’m not entirely certain about what the future holds or what it will look like, but considering the year we’ve had with the Pac-12, and the exceptional talent within the conference, it garners immense respect for the entire Pac-12.”

Fans turned out in droves on Friday for a final taste of Pac-12 glory before the commencement of the bowl season and College Football Playoff. Subsequently, the ten departing teams will earnestly begin planning for their future endeavors, whether in the Big Ten, Atlantic Coast Conference, or Big 12.

Among the attendees were Jason and Kelli Baucom, Las Vegas residents who have been together for 20 years, 13 of which as a married couple. They have a tradition of watching Oregon play on Kelli’s birthday.

Jason remarked, “She hails from Oregon, and over two decades of influence and psychological manipulation, I have transformed into an Oregon Duck fan.” This shift in allegiance hasn’t been easy for the Baucoms, who are saddened by the altered landscape of the Pac-12. Their presence at the championship game held special significance.

“It felt fitting that we were competing to avenge our only loss and secure a place in the College Football Playoff,” Kelli noted before the game. “As an Oregonian and lifelong Oregon fan, there couldn’t be a better scenario to conclude the Pac-12 era.”

Lincoln Kennedy, a former standout offensive lineman at Washington with an illustrious 11-year NFL career, including eight seasons with the Oakland Raiders, was also in attendance.

“I’m excited about what the Dawgs have the opportunity to achieve here in Vegas,” commented Kennedy, who now serves as a radio analyst for the Las Vegas Raiders. “The conference may be dissolving, but I will never forget what it means to be a Dawg and the rich history and connections this esteemed conference has fostered.”

Contributions to this report were made by freelance writer W.G. Ramirez.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Conference Transition

What is the main theme of the text?

The text primarily discusses the conclusion of the Pac-12 conference and the uncertainty surrounding the future of the two remaining schools.

Who are the key figures mentioned in the text?

The key figures mentioned include George Kliavkoff (conference commissioner), Kalen DeBoer (Washington coach), and Bo Nix (Oregon quarterback).

What significant event occurred in the text?

The main event in the text is the Pac-12 Championship game, where Washington defeated Oregon 34-31, marking a bittersweet end to the conference.

What is the future outlook for the Pac-12 conference?

The future of the Pac-12 is uncertain, with only two schools, Oregon State and Washington State, remaining. The text discusses potential options such as a merger with the Mountain West or recruiting top teams from Group of Five leagues.

How do fans and former players feel about the changes in the Pac-12?

Fans, like Jason and Kelli Baucom, express sadness about the conference’s transformation and its impact on their traditional allegiances. Former players, like Lincoln Kennedy, have mixed emotions but cherish the history of the Pac-12.

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