Oregon Ducks Era In Pac-12 Conference Over: Best Memories

May the "Conference of Champions" rest in peace. The staff here at Oregon Ducks on SI reflects on the history of the Pac-12—and previous versions—and tell some of our favorite memories.
Mar 16, 2024; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Oregon Ducks head coach Dana Altman celebrates after the Pac-12 Championship game against the Colorado Buffaloes at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 16, 2024; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Oregon Ducks head coach Dana Altman celebrates after the Pac-12 Championship game against the Colorado Buffaloes at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Oregon Ducks may be moving on to the Big Ten Conference but the memories of the Pac-12 Conference will live on forever. Since the Conference of Champions is no longer around, the staff
here at Oregon Ducks on SI reflected on the history of the Pac-12—and previous versions—with some of our favorite memories.

Check out all the unique responses below.

Bri Amaranthus: It feels nearly impossible to pick just one favorite Pac-12 conference moment. I grew up dancing down the aisles as a four-year-old in Autzen Stadium. I remember the burnt, yet delicious, popcorn at the old Mac Court. One time the popcorn machine set off the fire alarm and we all had to evacuate in the middle of a basketball game. As a student at the University of Oregon, I lived next to Hayward Field and had the opportunity to walk the iconic track every day on my way to school.

Joining the Big Ten conference will not change any of this or these special memories.

Oregon Ducks quarterback Justin Herbert runs for a touchdown against the Wisconsin Badgers in the Rose Bowl.
Jan 1, 2020; Pasadena, California, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Justin Herbert (10) runs for a touchdown against the Wisconsin Badgers in the third quarter during the 106th Rose Bowl game at Rose Bowl Stadium. / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

My favorite moment came in 2020, before everything changed with the coronavirus. Quarterback Justin Herbert surprised everyone with his legs, rushing for three touchdowns in Oregon's 28-27 Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin. As an Oregon native myself, seeing the home town hero show off a different side of his skill set to win Rose Bowl MVP and go out with a bang as a Duck is something I’ll never forget. He cemented himself in Oregon history and the normally reserved Herbert was jubilant.


Kaleb Henry: My biggest Pac-12 memory was during the Pac-10 days and the dominance of USC.

As a Nebraska kid too young to understand what was happening in the 90s, the Pete Carroll Trojans were my first understanding of a college football dynasty. Seeing what Reggie Bush and LenDale White were able to do out of the backfield with Matt Leinart orchestrating the offense, USC's run was like magic to my young eyes. Then, just as they'd do to my own Husker heart, Texas and Vince Young stepped in to ruin the day.

USC Trojans quarterback Matt Leinart in action during the 2005 Orange Bowl held at Pro Player Stadium.
Jan 04, 2005; Miami, FL, USA; USC Trojans quarterback Matt Leinart in action during the 2005 Orange Bowl held at Pro Player Stadium. / USA TODAY Sports

There was not a time in my junior high through high school life that USC was not in the hunt for a national title. When I think of the death of the Pac-12, I can't help but think back to one of the many dominating runs from the "Conference of Champions".


Olivia Cleary: My Favorite Pac-12 moment is the Sabrina Ionescu era.

Sabrina Ionescu excelled during her time at Oregon, helping elevate the game of women's basketball. And did it in the Pac-12 Conference, one of the best in women’s basketball.

Young fans high five Oregon's Sabrina Ionescu as she leaves the court after leading the Ducks to a 76-64 win.
Young fans high five Oregon's Sabrina Ionescu as she leaves the court after leading the Ducks to a 76-64 win at Matthew Knight Arena. / Andy Nelson/The Register-Guard via Imagn

The Pac-12 boasts some of the nation's top recruits. Powerhouse programs like Stanford, with their talented players and Coach of the Year Tara VanDerveer, consistently rank high nationally. The depth of the conference is impressive too, with many teams battling for spots in the NCAA tournament each year. Despite the Pac-12's competitiveness, Ionescu established herself as a prominent figure in basketball.

At Oregon, Ionescu became the NCAA's all-time leader in career triple-doubles (both men's and women's) and the only player ever to reach 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, and 1,000 assists.


Arden Cravalho: I feel in love with the Pac-10/Pac-12 at a young age through college basketball. Growing up in the Bay Area, I would love to head to games at Stanford or Cal. It didn't matter who they were playing against, I couldn't get enough of watching the Conference of Champions in action. One team that stood out of course was the Oregon Ducks because of their flashy Nike jerseys and unique green and yellow colors.

Oregon Ducks players celebrate with the trophy after the game against the Kansas Jayhawks in the finals of the Midwest Region
Mar 25, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Oregon Ducks players celebrate with the trophy after the game against the Kansas Jayhawks in the finals of the Midwest Regional of the 2017 NCAA Tournament at Sprint Center. Oregon defeated Kansas 74-60. / Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The 2016-17 Oregon men's basketball squad will hold a special place in my heart. Dillon Brooks, Jordan Bell, Chris Boucher, Payton Pritchard, Tyler Dorey, Dylan Ennis, Paul White. The list of talent goes on and on. The run to the Final Four with key victories over Michigan in the Sweet Sixteen and Kansas in the Elite Eight was historic for not just the program but for Dana Altman's Hall of Fame resume. In my opinion, that was the best team to ever step on the hardwood in Oregon's history.


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Arden Cravalho

ARDEN CRAVALHO