Pac-12 has a lot to prove in bowl games

Antelope Valley Press - - Sports -

PASADENA — The Rose Bowl has al­ways been a state­ment about us. About South­ern Cal­i­for­nia. About a place where snow­capped moun­tains over­look lush green mead­ows of foot­ball hero­ism in 70-de­gree tem­per­a­tures.

All, in the world’s fa­vorite flower gar­den.

Since the in­sti­tu­tion of the Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off in 2014, it has be­come some­thing else.

It’s a state­ment about the Pa­cific-12 Con­fer­ence and its place in the game right now.

The Pac-12 has missed the CFP three straight years now.

It has a soli­tary Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off vic­tory, in the first play­off game at the Rose Bowl five years ago.

By Ore­gon.

The Pac-12 des­per­ately needs the sixth-ranked Ducks to come up big again against eighth-ranked Wis­con­sin on the first day of the new decade.

The apol­o­gists for the South­east­ern Con­fer­ence have con­vinced the rest of Col­lege Foot­ball that the Pac-12’s only pur­pose is geo­graphic.

That it’s as much about flow­ers and march­ing bands as it is about foot­ball.

If not more.

Ore­gon built a big lead in the sea­son opener vs. Auburn, and then man­aged to lose late, by one point.

Wis­con­sin dom­i­nated Min­nesota in Minneapoli­s, then scared the Buck­eyes out of Ohio State for a half in the Big Ten cham­pi­onship game.

The Badgers have the na­tion’s premier run­ning back in Jonathan Tay­lor.

They play the kind of smash­mouth that flower chil­dren are of­ten al­ler­gic to.

Wis­con­sin wouldn’t be caught dead wear­ing mir­ror hel­mets the way Ore­gon will to­day.

Flow­ers, then fash­ion. Then foot­ball, we hear them sneer­ing in SEC coun­try.

Ore­gon quar­ter­back Justin Her­bert grew up in the shadow of the Univer­sity of Ore­gon.

He is the win­ner of the Camp­bell Award, Col­lege Foot­ball’s aca­demic Heis­man.

Her­bert skipped the NFL Draft to come back and play for the na­tional cham­pi­onship.

“We’re play­ing in the big­gest game in Col­lege Foot­ball,” the game’s smartest player said.

The Pac-12 Con­fer­ence couldn’t agree more.

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