College Football National Championship A Cruel Reminder Of Pac-12’s Great Depression

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For decades the Pac-12 has been a major player in both college football and basketball. It’s odd when you think that just two years ago the Oregon Ducks were playing the blue blood North Carolina for a men’s basketball national championship. Ironically enough, the 2014 Oregon Ducks were the last true threat for a football National Championship in the first year of the College Football Playoff. Many will reference the 2016 University of Washington team, but being double-digit underdogs to Alabama in Atlanta—essentially a home game for the Crimson Tide—doesn’t exactly strike me as being a true championship contender.

Football and basketball have been the heartbeat of the conference going back to the glory days of UCLA in the 1960s and USC carrying the torch for many of the years for football. If it wasn’t for the supporting sports that don’t bring in high revenue numbers (e.g. Track & Field, Baseball and Volleyball) the conference would be in a free fall.

The college football season ended on Monday night and for the second consecutive year there wasn’t a Pac-12 team present or remotely close to being in the conversation. It’s odd because when you look around the NFL, in the past four drafts, Pac-12 quarterbacks have led the way with Darnold, Goff, Mariota, and Rosen. The supporting cast for many of these players have been the problem. Since 2015, only one Pac-12 team each season has registered a top-10 recruiting class according to rivals.com and USC has four of them. However, there are a handful of teams that have registered top-25 classes. While these classes don’t compare with SEC teams, it should be enough to consistently be in the playoff.

I believe the bigger problem is the lack of elite coaches in the conference. Aside from Chris Peterson, is there one coach on the level of second-tier SEC or Big 12 coaches?

Conference play for basketball is in full swing and I don’t think anyone can definitively say that there’s more than two teams that will make the NCAA tournament. As it currently stands, there are no Pac-12 teams in the Top 25 and there isn’t a team in the conference with fewer than four losses.

Selfishly I’m upset that Steve Alford has already been fired. I was looking forward to the California Quit on Coach Classic between USC and UCLA. Andy Enfield being fired is essentially a foregone conclusion. What’s in question is how both of these programs can’t seem to get on track with the immense amount of talent that they have of their rosters. The FBI probe destroyed Arizona’s recruiting class, so their subpar year seems justified. We can essentially cross off any national championship implications and we’re only a week into the new year.

Hot take: The Pac-12 is a track & field, soccer, and water polo conference. Not basketball or football.

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Jarreau Brown

Jarreau is an Atlanta transplant who's been an Oregon resident since 2014. He graduated from Grambling State University in 2013 with a degree in Sports Management and Marketing. He also ran the 200m and 400m while there and was a 6-time SWAC Conference Champion. Here's a few things he's passionate about in sports: league drafts, post-season action, Coors Light, and respect for Matt Ryan. All of his work in life is done to set up his retirement plan in Atlanta, where he'll be a season ticket holder for all Braves and Falcons games.

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