Pac-12 Football Mailbag: Greatest Moments of BCS Era

Kyle KensingContributor IFebruary 28, 2014

** FILE ** In this Oct. 6, 2007 file photo, Stanford's Ben Ladner, Tavita Pritchard, coach Jim Harbaugh, and Evan Moore, from left, celebrate after Stanford upset Southern California 24-23 in an NCAA college football game in Los Angeles. Nobody around Southern California has forgotten the Stanford debacle of last year, when the 41-point underdog Cardinal handed the Trojans their only loss at Los Angeles Coliseum in the past 43 games. No. 6 USC, a 23-point favorite, gets a shot at revenge this weekend in Palo Alto.  (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File)
Matt Sayles/Associated Press

A new era in college football is officially underway now that spring camps are beginning to open around the nation. The first year of the College Football Playoff only compounds the unknown each new season brings.

The BCS era was not particularly kind to the Pac-12. The conference won the BCS championship only once, in 2004, and played for it just three times. And yet, the era wasn't a bad time for Pac-12 football. On the contrary, there were countless memorable moments that will live forever in conference lore.

The Pac-12 made strides in the system's last few years that have it on the right course for the College Football Playoff era. It's an exciting time for Pac-12 football. 

With that, let's dive into this week's mailbag.   


Kevin emails: What are some of the best moments from the Pac-10/12 during the BCS years?

There were so many great moments and standout players to come through the Pac-12 in the last 15 years that paring a list to a reasonable length is a chore.

The most incredible end to a game has to be quarterback Ortege Jenkins' front-flip into the end zone, giving Arizona a 31-28 win over Washington.

Known as the Leap by the Lake, Jenkins' acrobatic somersault is the crystallizing play from arguably the greatest season in Wildcats history.

The greatest upset of the BCS era is Stanford's 24-23 win at USC in 2007.

Now, that's a statement that can actually be quantified. Stanford was an incredible 41-point underdog.  

More important than the whopping point spread was that this game was a truly seminal moment in the course of Pac-12 history. USC had two more years left in its dominant run atop the conference, but the cracks in the Trojans' armor were evident.

Stanford also offered a sample of what was to come in the subsequent years. The Cardinal won five of six against the Trojans, including four straight, a streak that was snapped this year. Stanford played in four consecutive BCS bowls after that night; USC reached two.

Reggie Bush had the most jaw-dropping individual effort in USC's 50-42 win over Fresno State in 2005. The Bulldogs adopted a mind-set of any opponent, anywhere under former head coach Pat Hill, and they were certainly game for the top-ranked Trojans that night.

But they weren't prepared to stop Bush, who was absolutely dominant. He rushed for 294 yards on 23 carries, a staggering 12.8 per attempt.

A basketball player can get in the zone and hit shot after shot, regardless of how the defense attempts to stop him. A pitcher in baseball can be unhittable. A hockey goaltender can become an impenetrable wall.

All are commonplace. For a player to put his team on his back as Bush did that night in football, the ultimate team sport, is rare.


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