Pac-12 College Football Championship
Every year, at the end of the college football season, major conferences host conference championship games to determine the champion of their league. One of those conferences is the Pacific-12 (Pac-12) conference, which consists of teams primarily on the west coast. Keep reading to learn about the Pac-12 Championship Game in greater detail.
What is the Pac-12 Championship Game in College Football?
The Pac-12 Championship Game is an annual college football game held to determine the winner of the Pac-12 conference. The game is one of the newer conference championship games in college football, first being played in 2011. Up until 2021, the game pitted the winner of the league’s North Division against their counterparts from the South. Due to the divisions being imbalanced often, the conference eliminated the divisions for the 2022 season, and the two teams with the best two overall conference records qualified for the championship game. Not only is the winner of the game crowned champions of the Pac-12, but they also earn a spot in the Rose Bowl game (when it is not part of the CFP), arguably the most historically significant bowl game in college football.
- Stadium: Allegiant Stadium
- Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
- First Game: 2011
- Most Appearances: Oregon (5 appearances)
- Most Wins: Oregon (4 wins)
2022 Pac-12 College Football Championship
The 2022 Pac-12 championship game was the first edition of the game that took the two teams with the two best overall conference records, as opposed to division winners. The game took place on December 2nd, 2022. Coming into the game, the University of Southern California (USC) Trojans were the number one seed, while the Utah Utes were the second-best team during the regular season. Although USC finished above Utah in the standings, they were not the better team in the game, as Utah won the game rather easily by a score of 47-24. This earned Utah the Pac-12 Championship and a spot in the upcoming Rose Bowl game. Utah quarterback Cameron Rising earned MVP honors for the game, throwing for 310 yards and three touchdowns.
Pac-12 College Football Championship History
The first Pac-12 championship game took place in 2011. The most dominant team in the Pac-12 since has been the Oregon Ducks. They won the first-ever Pac-12 Championship Game in 2011, defeating the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) Bruins 49-31. They would go on to win the championship again in 2014, 2019, and 2020, as well as an additional appearance in 2021, which they lost to Utah. Their four championships and five championship appearances both rank first amongst all Pac-12 teams. The other teams with multiple championship victories are the Stanford Cardinal (2012, 2013, 2015), the Utah Utes (2021, 2022), and the Washington Huskies (2016, 2018).
Pac-12 College Football Championship Payout for Coaches
While coaches want their teams to win the Pac-12 Championship for team success and accolades, they also have incentives in their contracts if their teams pull it off. This is the case with most schools and their conference championships around the country. For example, when Oregon won the Pac-12 championship in 2019, head coach Mario Cristobal earned $100,000 for qualifying for the game and an additional $150,000 when the Ducks won the game. While these numbers vary from school to school, they are hefty no matter the school, and coaches certainly have a great financial incentive to coach their teams to victory in the Pac-12 Championship.
Results by Team
|Arizona State Sun Devils||1||0|
|Washington State Cougars||0||0|
|Oregon State Beavers||0||0|
|California Golden Bears||0||0|
How do teams qualify for the Pac-12 Championship in college football?
Starting in 2022, divisions were eliminated in the Pac-12, and the two teams with the best overall conference records now make the Pac-12 Championship Game. For this past season, the two teams who made it to the Pac-12 Championship Game were the USC Trojans and the Utah Utes. For the first 11 editions of the game from 2011-2021, each winner of the Pac-12’s two divisions (the North and South) qualified for the championship game.
When is the Pac-12 Championship in college football?
For the most part, the Pac-12 Championship Game has been held on the Friday night prior to “Championship Saturday,” which is the Saturday that most of the other conference championship games take place. This date is usually around the first weekend in December, sometimes the last Friday in November. The dates have ranged from November 30th to December 7th, with the one exception being in 2020 (December 18th) when the season started late due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Where is the Pac-12 Championship played?
Currently, the Pac-12 Championship Game takes place at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada, home to the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders. Originally, the game took place on campus sites from 2011-2013, as well as in 2020 when travel was limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic. From 2014-2019, Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, home of the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, hosted the Pac-12 championship.