UW HUSKIES

UW gives Pac-12 one last chance at championship before leaving

Jan 2, 2024, 2:40 PM | Updated: 3:07 pm

UW Huskies CFP Sugar Bowl...

UW Huskies players run onto the field after their Sugar Bowl win over Texas. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)

(AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The curtain will close on the Pac-12’s final season as a Power Five football conference on the biggest stage in the sport.

The UW Huskies, one of 10 programs leaving the conference this coming summer, beat Texas 37-31 in the Sugar Bowl to earn a spot in College Football Playoff national title game against Michigan on Monday in Houston.

What Stands Out: Brock Huard on UW punching ticket to title game

Lack of playoff success, or even participation, was one of several issues that brought upon the Pac-12’s demise.

The second-ranked Huskies (14-0) snapped a six-year CFP drought for the Pac-12, winning the conference in its most entertaining and competitive season in years. The Huskies are just the second Pac-12 team to reach the championship game, and the first since Oregon lost the first to Ohio State after the 2014 season.

The last Pac-12 team to win a national title was Southern California in 2004.

“Happy for the kids,” Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff told Yahoo Sports! after the game. “They don’t deserve all the nonsense going on around them. We were focused on rebuilding football. Took 2 1/2 years. I wish it would have happened quicker. If some of our schools would have been a little more patient, it would have paid off.”

The damage, though, was already done.

Before the season even kicked off, the Pac-12 had been plundered by the Big Ten and Big 12.

Kliavkoff and the Pac-12 leadership’s inability to land a media rights contract competitive with it Power Five counterparts caused its members to look for a better deal and more money.

The decisions by Washington and Oregon in August to move to the Big Ten, joining USC and UCLA, drove a dagger into the Pac-12, prompting Arizona State, Arizona and Utah to follow Colorado to the Big 12.

A couple of weeks later, Stanford and California found a landing spot in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The Pac-12 is down to two now, Oregon State and Washington State. Those Pacific Northwest rivals plan to keep the conference alive with only two teams for at least another year.

But its days of being the conference of champions appear to be going away.

“Surreal. It’s surreal,” Kliavkoff said, per 247Sports. “It’s upsetting that some of our schools weren’t more patient because if they saw what we were building it would have paid off.”

More on UW Huskies in the CFP

Hot Take: Why UW QB Michael Penix was so amazing in Sugar Bowl
Title game matches UW Huskies’ prolific Penix vs Michigan’s elite D
UW Huskies topples Texas to punch ticket to national title game
Recap: Penix leads UW Huskies over Texas 37-31 in Sugar Bowl

UW Huskies

Pac-12...

Christian Caple

Caple: Pac-12 Preseason Power Rankings — with a twist

On Montlake's Christian Caple ranks Pac-12 football teams based on how they'll finish in their new conferences.

4 days ago

UW Huskies Husky Stadium...

Christian Caple

Caple: 23 thoughts on UW Huskies football’s 23 June enrollees

The UW Huskies 23 portal additions and remaining 2024 signees are now on campus. On Montlake's Christian Caple breaks it down.

5 days ago

UW Huskies...

Christian Caple

Caple: Thoughts on Ana Mari Cauce, Big Ten and UW’s athletic budget

On Montlake's Christian Caple delves into three interesting topics surrounding the UW Huskies as they near their Big Ten debut.

7 days ago

UW Huskies helmet...

Christian Caple

UW transfer Logan Sagapolu ‘grateful’ for new start, position

Incoming UW Huskies transfer Logan Sagapolu is ready to make the transition from defensive line to offensive line in Seattle.

10 days ago

Pac-12 UW Huskies Jadelyn Allchin...

Cliff Brunt

Dominant Pac-12 softball nears end with realignment set to scatter programs

Current members of the Pac-12 have dominated softball for most of its existence. Those programs will spread out next year.

20 days ago

Pac-12 UW Huskies Oregon...

Christian Caple

Caple: The toughest game for each Pac-12 team as they enter new leagues

The 2024 college football season will find 10 of the former Pac-12 members playing in three different conferences.

21 days ago

UW gives Pac-12 one last chance at championship before leaving