The Pac-10 Conference officially spreads its wings to encompass Colorado and Utah as it morphs into the Pac-12 at the stroke of midnight Friday morning.
The Buffaloes and Utes will once again ride the plains of the old west, renewing an ancient rivalry between them that dates to the days when both schools were members of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.
"Rivalries take time," Colorado receiver Kyle Cephalo told the Salt Lake City Tribune. "You never know. It takes a lot, a lot of years to establish a solid rivalry, and this year, to be honest with you, everyone's our rival. That's our mentality. Us and, obviously, Utah; we're the new kids on the block and everyone in the Pac-12 is going to try to show us this is Pac-12 football, and we're going to try to show that, hey, we're up to the task. We're ready for anything you put on the table for us."
For California and Washington, it will be business as usual since 1915. Oregon and Oregon State made it a four-team league but both dropped out between 1959-1963.
Washington State started tagging along in 1917 and Stanford joined the fun a year later. USC was promoted in 1922 and UCLA made the jump in 1928.
Idaho and Montana made cameo appearances in the days before rock and roll. The conference was known as the Pacific Coast Conference until 1959, when it was renamed the AAWU following a scandal involving several of the institutions.
All was forgiven in 1964 when the schools were reformed into the Pac-8. Arizona and Arizona State made it the Pac-10 in 1978.
Thirty-four years later, things change again. The 12-team conference will be divided into two six-team divisions for football, with the original PCC teams in the north and the additions remaining in the south.
Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott has negotiated a pretty hefty television contract for the resigned conference, something that was not lost on the two newcomers.
"Our games were on, but most people across the country couldn't see them," Utah athletic director Chris Hill said. "This exposure is just gigantic. This is a big, big deal."
The New York Times reported that the conference agreed to a media rights deal that could bring in nearly $3 billion over the life of the 12-year deal, or $250 million annually.
The future will seemingly bring the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. For now, there's something to be said for the past.
Stanford won two Pac-10 football titles in the 35-year reign of the conference. USC has won (or tied) 15 titles, including five in a row between 2002-2006. Washington and UCLA each have seven conference titles. Oregon has five titles, Arizona State three, Washington State two, and California, Arizona and Oregon State one apiece.
Swimmers and tennis players rule The Farm when it comes to Pac-10 team titles. The men's swim team has a stranglehold with 29 consecutive titles while the women's team has 18. Men's tennis has 12 titles and women's tennis has 23 titles.
Arizona and UCLA ruled the men's basketball court in the Pac-10 era. The Wildcats captured 12 conference titles to UCLA's 10. Oregon State followed with five, Stanford had four, Washington 3, USC, Oregon and California one each.
Stanford won 11 Pac-10 baseball titles and shared one softball title. The Cardinal own five women's gymnastics titles. Only UCLA, with 15, has more.
In volleyball, the Stanford women have 16 conference titles, more than the other schools combined. In soccer, the Cardinal women have six and the men one. In cross country, the women own 15 titles and the men 13.
The men's golf team has taken home five Pac-10 championship trophies while the women have one of its own. Even the track and field teams got into the act, with the men winning twice and the women once.
"It's amazing what people have accomplished here," Stanford senior women's water polo player Kim Krueger said. "I am just so grateful to experience college in this way, and to see it through special lenses that make it all unique."
Stanford athletes accepted eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, 13 silver medals and four bronze medals. Among them are world record holders, Hall of Fame members and professional athletes.
The 1996 Olympics in Atlanta produced one bronze and one silver. The other 17 medals were golden and that doesn't include the four Olympic coaches from Stanford.
There have been eight summer Olympic Games held (the U.S. boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympics) since the Pac-10 has been in its pre-Colorado/Utah format. Stanford athletes have accounted for 121 medals, 55 gold, 42 silver, 24 bronze over that span.
Several of those athletes, Heather Olson, Sheryl Johnson, Lea (Loveless) Maurer among them, returned to coach at Stanford.
Stanford coaches like the late Richard Quick and George Haines, plus Tara VanDerveer, Skip Kenney, John Rittman, Gail Emery, Mark Marquess, Fred Sturm all helped guide Olympians to the medal stand.
Perhaps a new wave of athletes and coaches will shine on the national and international stage as the self-billed "Conference of Champions" reinvents itself again.