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Saying Goodbye to the Pac-12

Arizona, Arizona State and Utah, we will see you soon enough.

NCAA Football: Colorado at Oregon Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

As you may have heard, the Pac-12 is dead and USC killed it. The L.A. schools left the Pac-12 scrambling, the conference administrators were unable to present a big money deal to the remaining ten schools, and then Colorado decided to leave for the Big 12. That opened the floodgates for Arizona, Arizona State and Utah to follow the Buffs, while Oregon and Washington joined UCLA and USC in the Big Ten. It was fun while it lasted and it’s worth saying goodbye to each school with whom we shared the prestigious Pac-12 Networks.

To the Oregon Ducks, thank you for the yearly beatings in football, and for the two points Cliff Harris gifted us in your 45-2 victory at Folsom Field. It honestly felt good to lose by so much, the masochists we are, and it was that much more cathartic when Steven Montez and Bryce Bobo walked into Autzen Stadium and shredded your vaunted secondary. (Don’t look up the Ducks’ 2016 record if you’re unaware.) And thank you, Dana Altman, for losing time and time again at the CU Events Center, even when your entire starting five made it to the NBA but couldn’t handle Derrick White and his less-than-NBA-caliber teammates.

To the Oregon State Beavers, I’m really sorry about this whole situation, honestly. We’re big fans over here. We weren’t mad when you beat us in the 2021 Pac-12 Championship, since you ended up being a Team of Destiny™ who made it all the way to the Elite Eight. We weren’t mad when the Luton-Hodgins connection erased as a 31-3 halftime lead and led to the collapse of the 2017 Buffs who started the season 5-0 and finished 5-7. Our heads were getting a bit too big after 2016 and we needed to stay humble. (Also thank you for Adley Rutschman, Nick Madrigal, Steven Kwan, Mick Abel, Cadyn Grenier, and everyone else except you-know-who. We don’t have a baseball team so it’s been great rooting for you ever since Darwin Barney entered my life.)

To the Stanford Cardinal, thank you for the 10-5 football win in 2016. It was a disgusting game that made us fall in love with Isaiah Oliver, Tedric Thompson and Jordan Carrell. And thank you for the women’s basketball team losing in Boulder in 2021, then almost losing again in 2023. Y’all have a truly elite program and it’s been a measuring stick for our own up-and-coming program. Thank you Dwight Powell, for attempting a dunk at the buzzer instead of a layup, and gifting us a two-point win in 2013. Finally, big shout out to Silver Creek’s Longmont’s own Valerie Allman, the Olympic gold medalist who needed to go to Stanford to become the greatest of all-time in women’s discus. Hope you’re doing well, Val, I just got promoted to Editor-in-Chief of the Ralphie Report.

To the Washington Huskies, curse you and that damn court where Spencer Dinwiddie tore his ACL and ruined our hopes of a Sweet Sixteen appearance, and curse you again for the 2016 Pac-12 Championship where Vita Vea and John Ross were too big and too fast for our plunky underdogs. But hey, we did get one back when Karl Dorrell outcoached the interim Bob Gregory — following the firing of one-time CU head coach candidate Jimmy Lake — for an inspiring November victory. And at least we never went 0-12 in a season despite trying our damned best.

To the Washington State Cougars, we’re really hoping you (and OSU) make it to the Big 12 because it would be sooooo fun to have you with us. We weren’t in the same division, but our head-to-heads always seemed to catch us in the same stages of the competitive cycle. Both of us sucked in 2012 when Jordan Webb led us to our first ever Pac-12 win. It took years to get back on track but we were competitive in 2016, only to play each other in an epic night game where the Money Gang secondary shut down the Luke Falk-led passing attack. And finally in 2019 when we had both fallen back to mediocrity, it was fun to see the legendary Mike Leach coach laps around Mel Tucker in that 41-10 beatdown. (Note: The basketball game on March 11, 2020 did not officially count and there is no recorded evidence of the Buffs losing their final five games of the season, with a sixth embarrassing loss incoming if the NCAA Tournament wasn’t canceled. Do not fact check this.)

To the UCLA Bruins, it’s been a pleasure battling on the hardwood. It was ten years of bliss when the Buffs were the only grit-n-grind program in the Pac-12, but Mick Cronin had to come in and teach defense and rebounding to a bunch of four- and five-stars California recruits. We used to have fun busting up Steve Alford’s precious offense — Bryce Alford hot shooting night, Kyle Anderson masterclass notwithstanding — but these games became a rock fight when Jaime Jaquez, Tyger Campbell and David Singleton could out-tough the Buffs. As for the gridiron, we have chosen to forget all the details of those 2015 and 2017 games where CU receivers dropped something like three or four would-be touchdowns in what ended up being one-score losses.

To the USC Trojans, thanks for ruining all of this. And thank you for public embarrassing us every time your Matt Barkley or Cody Kessler wanted to set a new school record for touchdown passes thrown in a single game. We will get you one day as payback for corruptly stealing our berth in the 2017 Rose Bowl where Saquon Barkley would have ripped us apart. And you, Andy Enfield, you are not free from the firm handshake of a pissed off Tad Boyle. He will find you some day, maybe in the NCAA Tournament or the inevitable Big Ten vs. Big 12 non-con schedule, and shake that hand as he congratulates you on the hard-fought loss.

To the Arizona Wildcats, we will see you soon enough. It’s been a pleasure making Sean Miller sweat, even if one our upset victories doesn’t officially count. It has been less of a pleasure seeing Khalil Tate have the three best games of his career against us, but honestly who’s keeping track of demoralizing Colorado football losses.

To the Arizona State Sun Devils, I hoped we would never see you again, but we will. You have the most rancid fan base in the country, but it’s been fun seeing y’all melt down while (a) Steven Montez has the best game of his career, sans Oregon, (b) a team of freshmen led by McKinley Wright IV beats the #4-ranked Sun Devils in Boulder, and (c) that same CU team wins again in the Pac-12 Tournament and Wright’s run-up-the-score alley-oop to Tyler Bey incites a benches clearing scuffle that ends in a Tad torn calf.

To the Utah Utes, it’s unfortunate that the “Rumble in the Rockies” didn’t work out but we’re happy you will have the hated BYU Cougars in the new Big 12. Things just weren’t meant for us to hate each other. Boyle and Larry Krystkowiak respected each other too much. The football rivalry was maybe juuuuust a bit one-sided, with the only competitive game being that 2016 win that sent us to the Pac-12 title game. We’re not looking forward to facing off in football, but it feels like we have a cousin we can keep rooting for within the conference.

I think that’s everyone. Wait, no, I forgot Cal.

To the California Golden Bears, sucks to suck. Goodbye.