The University of California played against the University of California at Los Angeles last Saturday. The Golden Bears beat the Bruins in the Rose Bowl. The final score was thirty-three to seven in what was considered by many to be an upset. The victory also allowed Cal Berkeley to become eligible for a bowl game with its sixth win.
All of this is anecdotal to the news that this was the last regular season football game played in what has been known as the Pac 12 Conference. We can start retrofitting any or all of this information for trivia questions moving forward.
If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? If a group of twelve collegiate football teams is suddenly left without a conference in which to gather and create schedules and sell swag with their logos, do they continue to play?
Well, if you're a sports fan of any stripe, you know that there are already college football teams without conference affiliation. The most notable of these is Notre Dame, who is able to fill its schedule with all manner of opponents anxious to take a shot at a school that gave us Touchdown Jesus and Rudy. UMass and UConn are the other two, but it's likely that they will eventually follow Army's lead and find a conference that will give them revenue sharing and a bigger slice of the pie that affiliation allows.
Which is why those twelve teams that used to hang together as the Pacific Twelve went scurrying to find homes in conferences that would share money and chances to get into bowl games and the like. Cal Berkeley and their arch nemesis Stanford will be playing next year in the Atlantic Coast Conference. With all the Nobel Prizes in Cal's history, there is no one who can explain this geography to me.
Because it doesn't make sense. Like when the University of Colorado went shopping for a new conference back in 2011. They landed themselves what they thought was a sweetheart of a deal in the newly enlarged Pac-12, former the Pac-10. Which makes some sense, until you try to reckon on the Big Ten Conference with its eighteen teams in its newly minted configuration. Geography means nothing. Numbers mean nothing.
Happily, we all have a few months to try and straighten this out. I promise to care more when competition extends beyond teams formed on this planet.