By the time the 2011-12 season ended, Colorado held the Pac-12's flickering flame like the lone survivor of a sinking ship, desperately waving for attention.
The conference had no teams ranked in the final top 25 poll. It had a 10-46 record (.179) against the RPI's top 50. Only two Pac-12 teams made the NCAA Tournament, and South Florida eliminated California in the "First Four" before 64 other teams unpacked their bags.
What has become one of the secondary story lines nationally is that the Pac-12's flame is aglow again. It's not exactly burning through the national landscape, but at least the flame can be seen outside the conference's once-rapidly shrinking orbit.