Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Former Pac-12 football stars comprise alumni council designed to help elevate status of the league

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The Pac-12 has pulled together some of the biggest names in the history of the conference to form an advisory committee to improve the league’s football product. The Pac-12 Football Alumni Council will prioritize getting league teams back to a national championship level — the kind that have not been seen since Pete Carroll’s USC teams of the mid-2000s. 

The committee features some big names, including Mike Bellotti (Oregon), Zach Ertz (Stanford), Steve Smith (Utah) and Brandin Cooks (Oregon State). 

“We are committed to building deeper relationships with our football alumni through substantive engagement on football matters,” said Merton Hanks, Pac-12 senior associate commissioner for football operations. “Our Pac-12 Football Alumni Council boasts unmatched football knowledge and national fan followings, and we look forward to working with them to support Pac-12 football across both promotional and strategic levels.”

Since Carroll left for the NFL in 2010, the Pac-12 has struggled to put together consistent national contenders. Oregon had a run in the 2010s under head coaches Chip Kelly and Mark Helfrich. However, no Pac-12 team has played for a national championship since the Ducks lost to Ohio State following the 2014 season. The only other Pac-12 team to make the College Football Playoff is Washington in 2016; the Huskies lost 24-7 to Alabama. 

New Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff was clear from the start of his tenure that elevating football programs is an existential issue for the conference. Only two Pac-12 teams were ranked in the final playoff rankings, tied with the American Athletic Conference. 

The new committee plans to meet multiple times a year to work through football-specific issues. Here are all of the former players and coaches that will be involved in the committee —

  • Scooby Wright (Arizona)
  • Brandon Sanders (Arizona)
  • Eric Allen (Arizona State)
  • Justin Forsett (Cal)
  • Shane Vereen (Cal)
  • Alex Mack (Cal)
  • Chad Brown (Colorado)
  • Mike Pritchard (Colorado)
  • Mike Bellotti (Oregon)
  • Tyrell Crosby (Oregon)
  • Steven Jackson (Oregon State)
  • Brandin Cooks (Oregon State)
  • Toby Gerhart (Stanford)
  • Zach Ertz (Stanford)
  • Toi Cook (Stanford)
  • Johnathan Franklin (UCLA)
  • Marcedes Lewis (UCLA)
  • Derrick Deese (USC)
  • Tim McDonald (USC)

  • Steve Smith (Utah)
  • Lincoln Kennedy (Washington)
  • Dana Hall (Washington)
  • Jack Thompson (Washington State)

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