Wednesday’s college football: Pac-12 title game headed to Las Vegas

Detroit News wire services
Former USC quarterback Mark Sanchez is joining ESPN as a college football analyst.

Los Angeles — The Pac-12 will move its football championship game to Las Vegas in 2020 and 2021.

Commissioner Larry Scott announced the decision Wednesday at the start of Pac-12 media day in Hollywood.

The league title game has been played at Levi’s Stadium in suburban Santa Clara, California, since 2014.

The event has struggled for solid attendance in the past half-decade, including a noticeably empty stadium for Washington’s win over Utah last year.

After the upcoming season, the game will move to party-friendly Las Vegas and the Raiders’ new stadium, which is still under construction just west of the Strip.

The Pac-12 men’s basketball tournament has been played in Las Vegas since 2013, and conference leaders have credited the move with boosting attendance.

Tar Heels tickets are gone

If you are a North Carolina football fan looking to buy season tickets for the 2019 season, you’re out of luck.

Season tickets are sold out, the school announced on social media Wednesday. UNC sold all 28,400 season tickets, which is 55.6% of the overall tickets. Kenan Stadium holds 51,000 people.

It was not immediately clear the last time UNC sold out of season tickets.

Single-game tickets for UNC’s game against Appalachian State on Sept. 21 and Clemson on Sept. 28 both sold out the day tickets went on sale.

There are, however, a limited number of three-game ticket plans, which would include the Clemson game packaged with South Carolina and Mercer.

The sellout coincides with the arrival of new football coach Mack Brown, who is trying to help turn around a program that has struggled to win in recent years. And the tickets sales shows that fans could be more excited about the upcoming season than they have been in recent years.

Brown was hired in November to replace former coach Larry Fedora, who was fired after two consecutive losing seasons. UNC won a combined five games in 2017 and 2018.

As a result, there were many games in 2018 with a large number of empty seats.

Sanchez to ESPN

Mark Sanchez, a former USC star and New York Jets first-round pick, is retiring from the NFL and joining ESPN as a college football analyst.

Sanchez played quarterback for Southern California from 2005-08, earning Rose Bowl MVP honors in his final college game. He was selected fifth overall in the 2009 NFL draft by the Jets and led them to the AFC championship game in each of his first two seasons.

Sanchez, 32, also played for the Eagles, Cowboys and Redskins in a 10-year NFL career. He finished with 15,357 yards passing, 86 touchdown passes and 89 interceptions.

This season, Sanchez will join anchor Kevin Negandhi and analyst Jonathan Vilma, another former Jets player, on ABC’s studio show. Sanchez replaces Brown, who returned to coaching at North Carolina.

“Excited about the new opportunity,” Sanchez posted on Twitter. “Big thanks to ESPN for making it happen.”