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Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Pac-12 tournament primer

By ESPN.com staff

Two off the first tee.

It's a time-honored amateur golf tradition, because every golfer -- whether horrific (like me) or really good (like most of my buddies, who lose patience with me quickly) -- can recognize the value of a free mulligan on the first swing.

Let's extend the same friendly courtesy to the Conference Formerly Known as the Pac-10, shall we? This year was the first in the new-look Pac-12's existence, and it was totally deserving of a mulligan: As of Tuesday, the Pac-12 was a combined 1-30 against the RPI top 50 in 2012, with the only win coming over RPI inflation case Colorado State, which Stanford beat all the way back on Nov. 15.

That led to an altogether feckless and uninspiring two months of conference play, wherein the title chase between Cal and Washington came down to the final week. Sounds exciting, right? It wasn't: Washington ended its season with a loss at UCLA, but because California dropped its final two games at Colorado and Stanford, the Huskies still won the league outright. Throw in a downright awful season at Arizona State, a disastrous rebuilding entry from new member Utah, quite possibly the worst (and most unwatchable) offensive squad in conference history in USC and a near-meltdown (and revealing Sports Illustrated investigation) at UCLA and, well … yeah. The first iteration of the Pac-12 was not one for the history books. Here's to a less-buggy version 2.0.

Click here for the rest of Eamonn Brennan's preview.