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RIP to Pac-12 After Dark


The Pac-12 is officially imploding. After last summer’s announcement that USC and UCLA were departing to the Big Ten in 2024, the writing was on the wall for the Conference of Champions. Colorado bolted for the Big 12 last week, Arizona appears poised to follow suit and Washington and Oregon are now set to join the Big Ten. The conference is basically toast.

While from a national perspective there won’t be much to miss about the Pac-12, there’s one small piece of college football culture that will be departing forever: Pour one out for #Pac12AfterDark.

There were few things better on a college football Saturday than a late-night Pac-12 game going absolutely bonkers. No matter the matchups, it felt like every late-night intraconference contest had something crazy happen during it.

Quite possibly my favorite example of a Pac-12 After Dark stunner was back on September 22, 2019 when Washington State took a 49-17 lead early in the third quarter against UCLA. Somehow, the Bruins wound up winning 67-63. How could that have possibly happened? Pac-12 After Dark, that’s how.

Some other examples of memorable Pac-12 After Dark games follow.

Back in October of 2015, Oregon beat Arizona State 61-55 in three overtimes. The teams combined for 1,243 yards of total offense.

Arizona State went on the road and beat USC 38-34 in October of 2014 on a game winning Hail Mary from Mike Bercovici to Jaelen Strong.

Also in 2014, Arizona beat Cal 49-45. The Wildcats never led until the final play, which was a 47-yard touchdown from Anu Solomon to Austin Hill.

The 2014 season was peak Pac-12 After Dark territory, as another game from that season turned crazy. Cal beat Washington State 60-59 in a battle that came down to the wire and ended on a missed chip shot field goal.

In 2022, Oregon State unleashed a classic late-night comeback, after trailing Stanford 24-10, the Beavers scored 18 fourth quarter points to win 28-27.

In what might have been the final all-time great Pac-12 After Dark contest, USC and UCLA went at it in the Rose Bowl late in the 2022 season. On November 19, the two rivals stood toe-to-toe and threw haymakers at each other for 60 minutes. USC escaped with a 48-45 win that went down to the wire. It included some of the best quarterback play we saw all season.

Pac-12 After Dark became such a big deal, the conference actually promoted the concept:

It’s sad to think that 2023 will be the final year of Pac-12 After Dark. It will be missed tremendously.



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