The Daily Evergreen

The Tide rolls over the Pac-12 and West Coast football

NICK THOMAS | Evergreen sports columnist

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‘We want ‘Bama,’ is a preferred and frequently used chant by fans of top-rated college football teams each season. Washington was no exception this year, nor was Southern California.

Both teams took on the top-ranked and undefeated Crimson Tide this season with high expectations and dreams of an upset win. The teams were subsequently worn down by the nation’s best defense, like the ocean withering away at shoreline cliffs.

For Pac-12 football fans or citizens of the West Coast, this was a fair warning. Washington was the best team West Coast football had to offer this season. They cut through the Pac-12 conference with little resistance and looked like they were a clear cut above everyone else.

The Huskies had a defense heralded as one of the best in the country. Sophomore quarterback Jake Browning was an outside contender for the Heisman Trophy and junior wide receiver John Ross became a highlight machine.

This Washington team had buzz around it that has been absent since Oregon’s run to two national championships in five years. Come New Year’s Eve, Alabama made it perfectly clear who the alpha was in the Peach Bowl.

The extraordinary UW team that dazzled the conference all season became yet another notch in the Tide’s belt and became the latest Pac-12 team that could not get it done on the biggest stage against a powerful SEC team.

The most recent drubbing of a Pac-12 team on a national stage reinforces that the West Coast, outside of USC, lacks the firepower to stand up to teams from the Midwest and Southeast.

The Huskies had an amazing season. They put up 70 points on the Ducks to end a 12-game losing streak to their rivals, averaged over 40 points per game and put an end to the Oregon-Stanford reign of terror in the Pac-12.

Down the road, both the Huskies and Trojans may put together a championship season. Alabama’s drubbing of both schools, however, dramatizes that the conference has much work left to do in order to close the gap between itself and teams like the Crimson Tide and Clemson.

Boise State’s bowl game flop only furthers the point.

The Broncos entered the Cactus Bowl sporting a 10-2 record against a 6-6 Baylor team. The Bears saw their season crumble as allegations over the university’s handling of alleged sexual assaults ramped up midseason. The Bears had lost six-straight, the Broncos upended WSU earlier in the season and pundits predicted an easy win for BSU. Yet the Bears routed the Broncos 31-12 and led for the entire game.

Like WSU’s upset defeat at the hands of a maligned Minnesota team, the west coast faltered against mediocre teams from the other side of the country.

Washington was not expected to knock off the Tide, but it was the best the West had to offer and the team looked helpless on offense in the team’s 24-7 loss. The Broncos did not win the Mountain West Conference title game, but were ranked for almost the entire season and were pounded by a Bears squad that had no business playing in a bowl game.

For Pac-12 and West Coast fans bellyaching about a lack of ‘deserved respect’ or an East Coast bias playing into the minds of voters and national perceptions, these statements have proven to be warranted. Simply put, right now, the West just doesn’t stack up with the East.

The point is, if you live west of the Rockies, you don’t want ‘Bama.

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The Tide rolls over the Pac-12 and West Coast football