By Ben Ramirez
Self proclaimed “The Conference of Champions,” the Pac 12 is often made fun of by the rest of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for being the worst of the Power 5 conferences, which include the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Big 10, Big 12, and Southeastern Conference (SEC).
Despite the three universities with most national championships all coming out of the Pac 12 (Stanford, UCLA, and USC), the conference has not had much success in the NCAA’s two major sports: football and basketball.
The Pac 12 finished the 2017-2018 college football season with three ranked teams, which is average considering the ACC had the highest number with five teams. That being said, the Pac 12 football season was filled with Saturdays of sub par defense and intra-conference matchups that were hard to watch at times.
At the end of the season, nine Pac 12 teams went to bowl games, which would be a more impressive number if a team did not have to be 6-6 or better to become bowl eligible. The more significant number is that the conference came out of bowl season with a horrendous 1-8 record, which further confirms the notion that the Pac 12 cannot compete well against other conferences.
Basketball season saw more of the same mediocrity. After starting the season as one of the last remaining unbeaten teams and being ranked as high as number three in the country, Arizona State imploded, finishing the season 8-10 in conference play and 20-12 overall. They lost their NCAA Tournament play-in game to Syracuse.
As for the rest of the conference, Oregon had a bounce back year after losing the majority of its roster that led them to the Final Four last March, and qualified for the National Invitational Tournament. USC was robbed of a spot in the Tournament after having a strong conference record. The other two March Madness bound teams, UCLA and Arizona, lost their first matchups of the Tournament. The other seven teams were too average to mention.
Now in the middle of the collegiate baseball season, the Pac 12 will once again have a chance to redeem its lackluster major sports year. With multiple ranked teams, this is the conference’s last opportunity of the school year to fulfill the title of “Conference of Champions.”