The Pac-12 is on its way out. After over a century, the conference figures to dissolve almost entirely after the 2023 college football season sunsets. And it’s going out with a bang, as the conference boasts some of the best teams in the entire country.
They house four of the best quarterbacks in the country – Heisman winner Caleb Williams, Michael Penix, Jr., Bo Nix, and Shedeur Sanders. Oh yeah, they have head coach Deion Sanders and the Colorado Buffaloes. You might have heard of them.
It’s clear the conference has a sudden bundle of riches, which might make it frustrating that it’s going away. That said, one man wants to enjoy what’s before him. That man is Pat McAfee.
ESPN ‘College GameDay‘ emanates from South Bend, Indiana, this week. The show highlighted the conference’s big weekend slate. It features three Top 25 matchups:
- #19 Colorado vs. #10 Oregon (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)
- #22 UCLA vs. #11 Utah (3:30 p.m. ET, Fox)
- #14 Oregon State vs. #21 Washington State (7 p.m. ET, Fox)
Not to mention, #5 USC plays Arizona State at 10:30 p.m. Eastern on Fox, while #8 Washington hosts Cal at 10:30 p.m. Eastern on ESPN. It’s a big weekend on top of a massive weekend for the sport, easily the best of the young season. At the panel, McAfee stood in and went on a bit of a rant about it.
“But when you look at that Pac-12 slate, it is UNFATHOMABLE how they weren’t able to get a deal done,” McAfee said, later clarifying that he meant a network deal.
“The reason why the Pac-12 is now the Pac-2 is cause they weren’t able to get a TV deal?!” McAfee said, flabbergasted. McAfee said the conference boasts a whopping five Heisman candidates right now, presumably Williams, Penix Jr., Nix, Sanders, and perhaps Travis Hunter. He also put over the fact that every conference game will have conference championship game implications.
"It is UNFATHOMABLE how they weren't able to get a deal done. Like a network deal done. The reason why the Pac-12 is now the Pac-2 is cause they weren't able to get a TV deal?! …"
"Let's enjoy the HELL out of this last year of the Pac-12" ~ Pat McAfee on the Pac-12 pic.twitter.com/XivWkgygSv
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) September 23, 2023
“Let’s enjoy the Hell out of this last year of the Pac-12 because this has been they’ve been in a long, long time,” he closed.
McAfee’s rant was met with both some favorable and unfavorable reviews. It’s understandable why a college football fan would be irritated that the Pac-12 is dissolving, especially because of the circumstances.
It’s not a college football fan’s fault that Larry Scott’s incompetence brought us here. Or that George Kliavkoff didn’t fare much better at keeping things together. Or that USC and UCLA, two of the conference’s cornerstones, fled their homes on the West Coast for the Big Ten. That, or any of the other series of moves that led us to this point, isn’t a fan’s fault. And the dissolution happening at the conference’s apex in the College Football Playoff era is nothing if not frustrating and deflating.
But, there are some who challenged McAfee’s statement. Why? Well, the network that writes his checks. ESPN made an offer that the conference turned down last fall. While it was the best offer, the network has come under intense scrutiny over the years for having its hand in conference realignment.
Although, in this case, it might be a bit off the mark in fairness. USC, UCLA, Washington, and Oregon all left for the Big Ten. The Big Ten isn’t under the ESPN umbrella anymore. That would be Fox’s, and the network and others haven’t tiptoed around the fact that they, too, had a hand in the pot.