The Pac-12 is not the SEC. The left coast is not the South. There might not be a high school football championship game in California that gets the turnout of your typical JV game in Texas. Not everyone around here learns good vs. evil and right vs. wrong through lessons about the correct colors to root for on Saturdays in the fall. But there's a whole lot of us who do.
From Tucson to Corvallis, from the shores of Lake Washington to the flatirons rising high above Folsom Field, Saturdays matter. For the kids walking through the concourse for the very first time, for the alums flying back to recapture the good ol' days, for the transplants rooting for the local team, for the veterans who've been tailgating in the same spot since the Eisenhower administration, Saturdays matter.
Saturdays in the fall aren't for football games as much as community rituals. Saturdays in the fall are for the collective experience of the big game, the chills down your spine when the band plays, when the walk-on scores, when the hail mary falls short and the underdog rises up. The communal highs and the communal lows. Saturdays are about being surrounded by 90,000 friends who don't care how much money you make, where you grew up, or who the hell you're voting for, so long as you wear the right colors and stand on 3rd down.
At least, that's how I think it goes. That's what I've experienced at the Rose Bowl. That's what perfect strangers and friends alike have told me it is like at their Pac-12 school. So after all the swapping of stories and bar room debates, I figured it was time to hit the road and encounter these Pac-12 Saturdays firsthand.
I'm going to spend a gameday at every single Pac-12 school to find out just how much Saturdays matter in the Conference of Champions.
This trip through the Pac-12 isn't about X's and O's or the quest for a title, as much as an exploration of the tailgates, traditions, settings, and people who make Saturdays in the fall the greatest days of the year.
So whether you're hopping on board for the USC song girls, Ralphie running wild, the Stanford band antics, or to discover whether microbial lifeforms actually exist in Pullman, welcome aboard. This is 13 Saturdays.