In a stunning upset, the UCLA Bruins secured a remarkable victory against the 13th-ranked Washington State Cougars, shaking up the top 25 AP Poll. As they gear up to face the 15th-ranked Oregon State Beavers this upcoming week, the Bruins find themselves amidst the swirling uncertainty of the ever-evolving Pac-12 landscape.
- Historic Teams Left Behind: UCLA’s win against Washington State and their upcoming matchup against Oregon State highlight the uncertain future of these historic Pac-12 teams.
- A Century of Contribution: Washington State and Oregon State have been integral parts of the Pac-12 for over a century, adding to the conference’s rich football legacy.
- A Precarious Position: With the impending departure of ten teams, the Pac-12 is set to undergo significant changes, leaving UCLA and other remaining teams in a challenging situation.
Amidst the excitement of their recent victory and the anticipation of facing the Beavers, it’s impossible to ignore the larger context in which these matchups are taking place. Washington State and Oregon State, along with several other Pac-12 teams, face uncertain futures due to the conference realignment.
Both of these programs boast a storied football history that spans generations. Washington State has been part of the Pac-12 since 1917, while Oregon State joined in 1915. Over the past century, they have played pivotal roles in shaping the conference’s football identity. It’s disheartening to contemplate the potential end of an era as they confront an uncertain path forward.
UCLA’s head coach, Chip Kelly, expressed his disappointment in the looming changes. He firmly believes that both the Cougars and the Beavers deserve better. The prospect of these teams not having the opportunity to showcase their talents in a competitive conference in the upcoming seasons is a bitter pill to swallow.
“I think it’s a travesty that Washington State’s not in a conference. That, to me, is a joke. That’s a really, really good football team and a school that’s had a bunch of tradition. And it’s the same thing with Oregon State. The fact that those two schools aren’t in a Power Five conference, or won’t be in a Power Five conference next year — people should figure it out. There’s a lot of really smart people in college athletics, but if we let those two schools not end up in a Power Five, then shame on us. That’s just not right.
“You’re talking about two nationally-ranked football teams that do it the right way. I’ve got a ton of respect for both of those programs. I hope things work out for them, because they deserve to play football at the highest level because they can play football at the highest level… I’ve got a ton of respect and I think those are two outstanding programs. And we gotta play them back-to-back. You saw what they were like today, and we know what it’s going to be like next week when we go to Corvallis.”
While there remains a glimmer of hope that they may secure new conference homes, the current outlook appears challenging. The Pac-12, as we know it, will cease to exist by the end of the 2023 season, leaving teams like Oregon State and Washington State in a precarious position.
As the remaining Pac-12 teams embark on new journeys, it remains to be seen whether these two programs can find a way to continue competing at a high level. In the end, the fate of these proud football traditions may very well lie in their hands, with uncertainty hanging heavy in the air.