Sam Connon, assistant Sports editor
Nine Pac-12 football programs went bowling in 2017.
This year, that number dropped to seven – the second-fewest representatives since the conference expanded to 12 teams in 2011.
Just two Pac-12 South teams – No. 17 Utah (9-3, 6-3 Pac-12) and unranked Arizona State (7-5, 5-4) – clinched a postseason berth, while Oregon State (2-10, 1-8) was the lone member of the North division to wrap up its schedule this past weekend.
Then-No. 8 Washington State (10-2, 7-2) fell to No. 16 Washington (9-3, 7-2) 28-15 Friday, ending the Cougars’ chances at sneaking into the College Football Playoff.
The Huskies’ upset earned them a spot in the Pac-12 Championship Game on Friday against the Utah Utes.
After losing 24-17 to No. 3 Notre Dame (12-0), USC (5-7, 4-5) finished under .500 for the first time since 2000. And despite missing a bowl for the fourth time this century, the Trojans elected to retain coach Clay Helton.
Colorado (5-7, 2-7), however, fired coach Mike MacIntyre last week after he led the Buffaloes to a five-game losing streak. The school swallowed a $10.3 million buyout to cut MacIntyre loose.
Angie Forburger, assistant Sports editor
The NCAA women’s volleyball tournament bracket is set.
Eight Pac-12 teams earned bids for the tournament – more than any other conference. Half of those teams earned a top-16 seed, allowing them to host the first- and second-round matches.
No. 1-seeded Stanford (28-1, 20-0 Pac-12), which won the Pac-12 title this year, earned the top overall seed. The Cardinal went undefeated in conference play – making them the first undefeated conference champion since 2003 – and will host Alabama State in the first round Friday.
No. 11-seeded USC (21-10, 13-7) ended its season with a five-set win over UCLA (13-14, 8-12) and will take on Samford in Friday’s opening round.
No. 15-seeded Oregon (20-10, 13-7) and No. 16-seeded Washington State (21-9, 12-8) both ended regular season play with back-to-back wins against Washington (18-12, 10-10) and Oregon State (11-21, 1-19). Oregon and Washington State will face New Mexico State and Northern Arizona, respectively, in the first round.
Arizona (22-10, 11-9), Colorado (18-13, 10-10), Utah (18-13, 10-10) and Washington were the final four Pac-12 teams to earn a spot in the tournament. The Wildcats finished fifth in the Pac-12 while the Buffaloes, Utes and Huskies tied for sixth.
Arizona will travel to face Missouri in Friday’s opening round, coming off three straight conference wins.
Colorado is facing South Carolina on Friday, while Utah will take on Denver and Washington will battle Saint Mary’s. The Buffaloes suffered a loss to the Utes to end their season as Utah finished with three straight wins. While the Huskies lost three straight at the end of the year, a five-match win streak before that earned them a tournament spot.
UCLA, California (15-16, 7-13), Arizona State (14-18, 5-15) and Oregon State finished the year with a record under .500 and failed to qualify for the postseason.
Joy Hong, assistant Sports editor
Five Pac-12 teams are ranked in the top 20, but the Bruins aren’t one of them this year.
UCLA women’s basketball (3-4) hasn’t lost three consecutive games in four years, and hasn’t had a losing record seven games into its season since 2014.
UCLA fell to North Carolina (5-2), now-No. 25 Kentucky (7-0) and then-No. 17 South Florida at the Paradise Jam last week.
No. 3 Oregon (6-0) – the 2018-2019 Pac-12 tournament champions – defeated UC Riverside and Saint Mary’s at the Saint Mary’s Thanksgiving classic, winning the games by an average of 37 points.
No. 8 Stanford (6-0) defeated Florida Gulf Coast, American and Hawai’i in the Rainbow Wahine Showdown. Stanford won each game by an average of 22.3 and will host No. 4 Baylor for a top-10 matchup Dec. 15.
No. 9 Oregon State (5-1) no longer holds a perfect record, but outlasted then-No. 13 South Carolina – a 2018 Final Four team – and played a competitive game against defending national champions No. 1 Notre Dame in a 91-81 loss.
No. 15 California (6-0) has yet to face a ranked team, but was a NCAA tournament team last season. No. 19 Arizona State (3-2) dropped its first two of four games, but the contests were against then-No. 4 Baylor and then-No. 5 Louisville.