It’s time for the nation to embrace the alternate football reality of #Pac12AfterDark

WASHINGTON — Listen, we’re all adults, and adults have responsibilities. Maybe you have kids, or maybe you just have grown-up things to do that consume your Sunday mornings. But when it comes to pure, unhinged, fill-up-an-IV-and-put-this-straight-into-my-veins football entertainment, it’s really hard to beat staying up into the wee hours on Saturday night to watch #Pac12AfterDark.

What exactly is #Pac12AfterDark? Formally, it’s the 10:30 p.m. ET kickoff game televised nationally on ESPN during the college football season, featuring one or more teams from the Pac-12 Conference. Practically, it is something far more twisted.

“I don’t care about Pac-12 football,” I hear some of you saying. That’s totally understandable and also totally beside the point. #Pac12AfterDark isn’t really football, as those of us who have subjected ourselves to after-2 a.m.-bedtimes for years will attest. It’s an alternate reality in which the history and traditions and rules of football are to be laughed at as they are discarded for something not necessarily better, but indisputably weirder.

Last week, most of the nation put its Saturday football-watching to bed with Boise State having scooped-and-scored a 55-yard fumble return to take a 31-10 fourth-quarter lead over #24 Washington State in Pullman. Washington State’s record-setting, NFL prospect quarterback had been benched. The game was easily over, except that of course it was a #Pac12AfterDark special.

After backup quarterback Tyler Hilinski led a 75-yard touchdown drive to cut the deficit to 14 with eight minutes to play, the true #Pac12AfterDark began to assert itself.

Yes, that was an attempted shovel pass — the pass that is much safer than a lateral, because it can really only result in a turnover if you shovel it, say, directly to an oncoming defender. After forcing a Boise State punt, the Cougars stalled out and, facing a 4th-and-20, had to punt the ball away with just 2:51 to play, still…

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