The Pac-12 scored a rare coup this season when Washington snuck into a New Year’s Six bowl game, which meant an extra $667,000 for each school.
That’s good news for the conference and backed up commissioner Larry Scott’s comments last week that parity is “the ultimate measure of the health” of the Pac-12.
It certain isn’t quality. The Pac-12 might have gotten two teams into the New Year’s Six but never seriously entered the College Football Playoff picture despite having two teams (USC, Washington) many expected to make strong cases.
USC fell out of contention Oct. 21, when it lost to Notre Dame by 35 points. That’s more than five weeks before the end of the season. Washington never recovered from its Oct. 14 loss to Arizona State, thanks to a nonconference schedule the CFP committee never respected.
But the Pac-12 played its part too. Pac-12 teams play a nine-game schedule. SEC teams play eight. That allows Alabama to play Mercer on Nov. 18 instead of going to play, um, Georgia.
Scott said he does not envision the Pac-12 reducing its conference games, so this could continue to hurt teams trying to get into the College Football Playoff.
“There is nothing about the way the College Football Playoff was designed that mandated similar scheduling,” Scott said. “So it’s just been the nature of the system. Having said that, I think leagues — there has been a trend toward nine games. We were the first, and now you see the Big 12 doing it, and the Big Ten doing it.”
The problem is the ACC does not do it. The SEC was supposed to but is not doing it. The Pac-12 needs to be as cutthroat as the SEC if it wants to win national titles.
The CFP committee made it clear conference championships are meaningless by ignoring the Big Ten champs the past two years and taking Alabama, which did not make the SEC title game. Alabama is one of the best four teams in the country, but it also plays in a conference that gives it the best chance for success.
The Crimson Tide wasn’t playing a Friday night road game this season. Who did? USC and Washington. Both lost. A 12-1 USC or 12-1 Washington would give the committee a lot more to think about.
I can’t imagine the Pac-12 stays at Levi’s Stadium once a new stadium gets built in Las Vegas. There were tarps covering the entire upper deck for the USC-Stanford game and the announced crowd of 48,000 appeared to be less. And that was with Stanford playing a mock home game.
Never trust a…