2013-14 Pac-12 Year in Review
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - The Conference’s 10 national titles came in the form of six men’s and four women’s crowns. Six different league schools claimed NCAA titles and, of the seven NCAA institutions to have won multiples titles, three were from the Pac-12. No other conference in the country had more than one team win multiple NCAA titles.
OREGON was one of three teams in the country to win three NCAA titles this academic season. The Ducks took home the hardware in men’s outdoor track & field, the program’s first team title in the sport since 1984, and swept the men’s and women’s indoor national championships. It is the first time ever UO has won three NCAA titles in one academic year. An additional four teams in the country had two NCAA titles, including USC and UCLA. The Trojans continue to dominate the sports of men’s water polo and men’s tennis, winning a sixth-straight title in the pool and a fifth in six years on the court. The Bruins won the Conference’s third-ever women’s soccer title and the program’s first, while also taking home the women’s tennis crown.
COLORADO kicked off the year for the Conference winning its fourth NCAA men’s cross country title. CALIFORNIA was first in men’s swimming, the program’s third national championship in four years, and STANFORD won its third women’s water polo crown in four years, extending the school’s streak of at least one NCAA team championship to 38-consecutive years.
In addition to the 10 national championships, the Pac-12 also had runners-up in six NCAA Championship events: women’s cross country (ARIZONA), women’s swimming (STANFORD), women’s rowing (CALIFORNIA), men’s volleyball (STANFORD) and women’s water polo (UCLA). Overall, the Conference had 32 teams finish in the top four at 22 NCAA Championship events, including an all-Pac-12 women’s water polo final four.
Participation in the postseason was a common occurrence for the Pac-12 in 2013-14. Of the 22 sports sponsored by the Conference, 19 witnessed at least half its teams participating in NCAA or other postseason action. The men sent 79 of a possible 100 teams into the postseason (79.4 percent), while the women sent 83 of a possible 115 teams (72.2 percent).
For the second-straight year, a record number of league teams participated in college football bowl games. After earning a then-league record eight bowl bids in 2012, Conference teams bested that with nine teams making bowl trips in 2013, producing a 6-3 record. A Pac-12 record five teams posted 10 or more wins during the season, a feat no other league in the country accomplished. STANFORD represented the Pac-12 in the Rose Bowl for the second-consecutive year by virtue of a 38-14 win over ARIZONA STATE at the Pac-12 Championship Game. ASU went on to participate in the National University Holiday Bowl. Also joining the Cardinal and Sun Devils in postseason play were OREGON (Valero Alamo), UCLA (Hyundai Sun Bowl), USC (Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl), WASHINGTON (Fight Hunger Bowl), WASHINGTON STATE (Gildan New Mexico Bowl), ARIZONA (AdvoCare V100 Bowl) and OREGON STATE (Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl). Six Pac-12 teams appeared in the final Associated Press poll marking the sixth time in league history that six teams were in the final ranking. The teams in the top 25 were: Oregon (9th), Stanford (11th), UCLA (16th), USC (19th), Arizona State (21) and Washington (25th). Also receiving votes was Arizona.
It was also a record-breaking season for Pac-12 men’s basketball with a league-record eight teams posting 20 wins during the 2013-14 campaign. ARIZONA captured its 13th regular-season crown, while UCLA won its fourth Pac-12 Tournament title at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, its first since 2008. The highly-competitive Pac-12 season was rewarded with a record-tying six teams (Arizona, ARIZONA STATE, COLORADO, OREGON, STANFORD, UCLA) earning NCAA Tournament bids. The Wildcats obtained one of the four No. 1 seeds in the postseason tournament, the Conference’s first since 2008. Pac-12 teams went 8-6 in tournament play, with UA, Stanford and UCLA reaching the Sweet Sixteen, while the Wildcats were just one point short of the NCAA Final Four, advancing to the Elite Eight. The eight NCAA Tournament wins were the most by the league since it posted an identical 8-6 mark in 2008. An additional three teams participated in postseason action with CALIFORNIA and UTAH receiving NIT bids and OREGON STATE playing in the CBI.
Pac-12 women’s basketball also saw tremendous success with five teams earning NCAA Tournament bids, the most since 2006. USC captured its first-ever Pac-12 Tournament title, securing its first NCAA Tournament bid since 2006. STANFORD claimed its 14th-consecutive regular-season crown, then advanced to the NCAA Final Four for the sixth time in seven years. Its trip to the national semifinals was also the seventh-straight year a Pac-12 team has advanced that far. OREGON STATE also ended a long NCAA Tournament drought, earning its first invitation to the Big Dance since 1996; CALIFORNIA made a third-straight trip to the NCAA Tournament; and ARIZONA STATE returned to the postseason event after a two-year absence. COLORADO, OREGON, WASHINGTON and WASHINGTON STATE also all participated in the WNIT, making it the most-ever teams to participate in the postseason in the history of the league. Three teams were ranked in the final Associated Press poll: Stanford was No. 6, Cal was No. 24 and USC was No. 25, its first appearance in the final poll in 20 years.
Pac-12 volleyball also recorded an unprecedented season with a league-record nine teams earning NCAA Tournament bids, also the most in the country, with three receiving a top-16 seed. After winning the Conference regular-season crown for the first time since 2005, WASHINGTON advanced to its first national semifinal since 2006 marking the 14th time in 16 years a Pac-12 team has advanced that far. With 14-straight years of at least six Conference teams earning NCAA bids, the Pac-12 has dominated the sport, winning a record 14 NCAA volleyball titles since 1982, including 12 in the last 23 years.
OREGON STATE won its second-straight Pac-12 baseball crown and was the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. Five teams altogether earned postseason bids with ARIZONA STATE, OREGON, STANFORD and WASHINGTON joining the Beavers in the tournament. UW made its return to the NCAA Tournament after a 10-year absence, while the Cardinal used a walk-off home run to advance to the Super Regionals before falling to eventual national champion Vanderbilt. The Pac-12 has, by far, won the most baseball national titles of any conference in the country, claiming 28 titles dating back to 1947, including two of the last three when the league had back-to-back champions in 2012 (Arizona) and 2013 (UCLA).
Another sport in which the Pac-12 Conference has dominated is softball where league teams have claimed 23 NCAA titles in the 33-year history of the championship. Pac-12 teams captured an unprecedented nine in a row from 1988-1997, then most recently claimed six-straight from 2006-11. Five teams participated in the tournament in 2014, with OREGON earning the overall No. 1 seed and advancing to the NCAA Women’s College World Series. Joining the Ducks in the tournament were third-seeded UCLA, No. 9-seed ARIZONA STATE, No. 11-seed ARIZONA and No. 12-seed WASHINGTON as the Bruins, Wildcats and Huskies went as far as the Super Regionals. The Conference has had at least three teams in the NCAA Tournament every year since the league began sponsoring the sport in 1987. Before earning the No. 1-overall seed, UO claimed its second-straight Pac-12 crown.