Oregon and Washington are heading to the Big 10, and Utah, ASU, CU, and Arizona are entering the Big 12. From next year, the landscape of college football will be entirely different, with the transformation of this storied conference on the immediate horizon. Let’s look at just a few of the most important and memorable moments in the history of the Pac-12.
3. Pete Carroll’s USC Trojans go back-to-back (2003-2004)
Photo Cred: NBC Sports
This was eventually stained by the improper benefits scandal involving Reggie Bush. Regardless, you can’t talk about the modern Pac-12 without mentioning the sheer dominance USC imparted to its opponents in the early to mid-2000s. Led on offense by Matt Leinart and Bush, the 2003 Trojans went 12-1, winning a share of the 2003 championship with LSU. In 2004, they left no doubt with Leinart winning the Heisman, a 13-0 record, and a destruction of Oklahoma in the national championship. Although the eventual scandal marred their legacy, the Pete Carroll Trojans remain one of the most dominant squads in football history.
2. The Stanford Band Play
Photo Cred: San Francisco Chronicle
One of the most famous plays in football history, the Stanford Band Play truly encompassed the unpredictability of the Pac-12 Conference. With eight seconds remaining and Stanford up by one, they sent a squib quick over to Berkeley’s Kevin Moen. After five incredible laterals, Moen found himself back with the ball running into the end zone. Even more unexpectedly, the Stanford band had stormed the field early to perform their routine, mistakenly believing the play had ended. Moen bulldozed a trombone player, ran through to the end zone, and capped off one of the most incredible plays in college football.
1. 2009 Oregon Vs. Oregon State: Civil War for the Rose Bowl
Photo Cred: Oregon Live
The rivalry game once known as the “Civil War” has always been a fixture of the Pac-12, but it never had more riding on it than in 2009. The winner would go on to their first Rose Bowl in decades. Although OSU got out to a 30-21 lead, Oregon shot back in the second half. They were energized by the return of the previously suspended LeGarrette Blount and took a 34-33 score going into the fourth. Facing a fourth-and-15 late, the Beavers elected to go for it instead of kicking a 45-yard field goal and threw an incomplete pass. This would seal the Ducks’ victory and give them their first Rose Bowl bid since 1995 in a Civil War game truly unlike any other!