The College Football Playoff championship will be decided in
Monday night's matchup between No. 1
And it will be played in prime time on the East Coast, when the whole country will be awake to see it.
Similar attention to broadcast detail by the Pac-12 might have enabled
Heisman winner Derrick Henry won't make an announcement about whether he will straight-arm his way to the NFL until after he plays for Alabama in the title game.
Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, a Heisman finalist, will return next season and try to lead the
But will Stanford or any other Pac-12 team contend for the national title?
The Cardinal dominated in the Rose Bowl, but the conference's bowl performance overall was spotty at best.
After a fast start, Pac-12 teams finished 6-4 in bowl games, with conference heavyweights
Among the highlights:
• Despite a snowstorm at the
• Freshman Myles Gaskin rushed for four touchdowns in
Jared Goff went out on a high note, passing for six touchdowns in California's
• McCaffrey scored on the first play against Iowa on his way to 368 all-purpose yards in quarterback Kevin Hogan's final game for the Cardinal.
• UCLA took a 14-point first-half lead against
Freshman quarterback Josh Rosen played impressively at times during an 8-5 season that ended with a bowl game in Northern California. That called to mind the 2009 season, when freshman quarterback
UCLA Coach Jim Mora has been mentioned as candidate for several NFL jobs.
• USC Coach Clay Helton fired four coaches before the Trojans' uninspiring
USC came from behind to take the lead in the fourth quarter but couldn't hold on and finished 8-6.
Helton is 0-2 as the Trojans' permanent coach, but judgment should be reserved until he has his staff in place. Then Judgment Day comes fast: The Trojans, with a new quarterback, open against Alabama next season.
• Oregon built a 31-0 lead over Texas Christian in the
Bram Kolhausen, Texas Christian's backup quarterback playing in place of suspended star Trevone Boykin, led the Horned Frogs to a 47-41 triple-overtime victory.
Two days later, Oregon Coach Mark Helfrich demoted the team's defensive coordinator. Could former Oregon player Justin Wilcox, fired as USC defensive coordinator, be headed to his alma mater?
Now quarterbacks Hogan, Goff, Adams, USC's Cody Kessler, Arizona State's Mike Bercovici and Utah's Travis Wilson are off to take their shot in the NFL.
Keller Chryst and Ryan Burns will compete to replace Hogan. Max Browne and Sam Darnold will compete to replace Kessler.
Rosen, Falk and Washington's Jake Browning are among the Pac-12's returning quarterbacks.
Oregon has welcomed yet another graduate transfer quarterback, Dakota Prukop from Montana State.
The Ducks played for the national championship game in Arizona in 2011, losing to Cam Newton and Auburn. Last year in Texas, they lost to Ohio State in the inaugural College Football Playoff championship game.
After Monday's final, the championship game will not return to the West until the 2018 season, when it will be played at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara.
The Pac-12 can only hope its presence extends beyond the location of the game.
Television ratings for the College Football Playoff semifinals played on New Year's Eve were down. The
Clemson began classes this week; Alabama will not begin until Jan. 13. Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney said Tuesday his team was not at a preparation disadvantage against the Crimson Tide. "Maybe they can have an extra meeting, something like that," he said. "Maybe they can do a walk-through in the morning and maybe a little extra film session. But I think at this point to be honest with you, more isn't better. I kind of believe in the less is more."