Unrivaled: Does The Pac-12 Even Want To Be Part Of The College Football Playoff?

Oct 1, 2020, 3:34 PM
Bowl Games - Rose Bowl...
PASADENA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 01: A general view of the stadium as the sun sets as the Oregon Ducks play the Wisconsin Badgers during the fourth quarter in the Rose Bowl game presented by Northwestern Mutual at Rose Bowl on January 01, 2020 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Pac-12 is already viewed as a step below the national stage. The conference has had only two teams make the playoff since its inception 2014 and it has been four years since the last Pac-12 team has made it to the Playoff.

Of the Power Five leagues, the Pac-12 would benefit the most from a larger playoff field that would guarantee its league champion a spot every year.

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott was asked about pushing for an expanded playoff during his teleconference when the league made the announcement on returning to play, but he was not in favor of increasing the field beyond its current four teams.

“I think there’s really no serious momentum or discussion around expansion,” Scott said. “I’m not expecting that the dates of the games will be back and we’re certainly not discussing expansion at this point.”

While Scott said one thing two weeks ago, he actually lobbied and suggested increasing the College Football Playoff field to eight, but that was not accepted and the 2021 version will go on as planned with four teams.

Scott told ESPN that he wanted to increase the size of the field due to the lack of non-conference games since determining the four teams will be more difficult than normal.

“In light of the pandemic and the varied schedules and reduced number of games — including no nonconference games for most teams — the committee will have to evaluate, I felt it was our responsibility and important to consider an expanded playoff that would include more teams and automatic qualifiers who are conference champions this year.”

Scott Should Have Pushed Harder For An Earlier Start

The Pac-12 and its playoff problem is not a new phenomenon. Oregon made the title game in its first year and Washington was a one-and-done team in 2016. Scott should have pushed for an expanded playoff and attempt to get other leagues on board, specifically Group of Five commissioners.

An eight-team field would very likely include one Group of Five team and they would have been on board. AAC commissioner Mike Aresco has been a proponent but he and other leagues said it wasn’t feasible due to logistics.

An argument can be made with the dates of the playoffs in place, there probably could have been some wiggle room to move these games around and include other bowls. The likelihood of a packed stadium is unlikely and fans and teams don’t know the destination until a week or two before so saying logistics was an issue is sort of a cop-out.

KSL Sports’ Scott Mitchell argues that if it is a lack of games being played that the Pac-12 could have done that. The Mountain West has teams in California and is able to start on Oct. 24 while playing eight games as is the Big Ten. Yet, the Pac-12 is going with seven games and starting at a later date.

“They could have easily started this season way before they could have started on the 24. I mean, the Mountain West is going to start on the 24th of October,” Mitchell said. “It gives them a chance to have more games. It gives them a chance to have some flexibility. When he talks about flexibility, the Pac-12 is going to play in play seven games in seven weeks and that last game includes a championship weekend type of format.

“They don’t have the luxury of going, ‘yeah, we’re going to have to postpone this game.’ They got to go seven straight weeks. They start earlier. Then they can shoot for nine games, and nine games is going to have you in the conversation for the College Football Playoffs. I really think the Pac-12 basically this year just said, ‘look, we just want to play football. It’s intramural football this year.’ We will look so bad if we’re the only conference in the country that doesn’t play.”

Does The Pac-12 Care About The Playoffs?

There is a reason the Rose Bowl is called “The Grandaddy of them all,” it still carries a lot of weight and is regarded as the most prestigious bowl game. The bowl is guaranteed its mid-afternoon spot on New Year’s Day regardless if it is a playoff semifinal or not.

The bowl game even held its own TV media rights deal and played the game on ABC when the rest of the BCS games were on Fox. Even prior to that, the Rose Bowl wanted nothing to do with the Bowl Alliance or be part of a national title game because it would take away from the traditional Big Ten vs. Pac-12. This led to a split national title in 1997 with Michigan and Nebraska splitting the honors between the AP and coaches poll.

Maybe deep-rooted history is why the Pac-12 may not really want to be part of the playoff, and this season the Rose Bowl just happens to be part of the playoff rotation as a semifinal game. That could be why Scott didn’t really push all that hard for expanding the field this year.

Mitchell feels that the majority of the Pac-12 doesn’t care about the College Football Playoff because there is no shot outside of a few teams to even be in consideration.

“Here’s what is happening. It’s a league that doesn’t want to be a part of the College Football Playoffs. They really don’t,” Mitchell said. “There’s probably two teams in the North, two teams in the South, maybe three. You’ve got Oregon. You kind of have Washington. I don’t know that they really care about going to the College Football Playoffs. I don’t know about most teams in the Pac-12 really caring about going to college. It doesn’t matter.”

Clearly, the Pac-12 would like to have teams in the College Football Playoff as that brings exposure to a league that really could use it, but perhaps the Rose Bowl is a fine substitute for its conference champion.

Tune into KSL Unrivaled every Monday through Friday, 7-9 p.m., or download the KSL NewsRadio app to subscribe to the podcast.

  • Utah Utes Scoreboard

  • Utah Utes Team Leaders

  • Utah Utes Standings

KSL Unrivaled

quarterback signs autographs at NFL Pro Bowl...
Jeremy Mauss

Putting Draft Picks On The Line Would Make Pro Bowl More Meaningful

Unrivaled has an idea to make the Pro Bowl a whole lot better.
1 day ago

Unrivaled: What Are The Odds… BYU Wins At Least Three Big 12 Games?

Unrivlaed wants to know how successful BYU football will be in its first year in the Big 12?
2 days ago
KSL Sports

Unrivaled: What Are The Odds… 49ers Or Bengals Win On The Road To Advance To The Super Bowl?

Will a road team make it to the Super Bowl?
6 days ago
KSL Sports

Unrivaled: What Are The Odds… New BYU QB Kedon Slovis Passes For More Than 3,000 Yards

Wil BYU have success with Pitt transfer Kedon Slovis this year?
7 days ago
Brock Purdy #13 of the San Francisco 49ers runs off the field...
Jeremy Mauss

Unrivaled: Sorry, No One Wants Brock Purdy In The Super Bowl

The Super Bowl field is loaded with talented quarterbacks but Alex Kirry of Unrivaled doesn't want to see Brock Purdy in the game.
7 days ago
KSL Sports

Unrivaled: What Are The Odds… Utah Has A 1,000 Yard Wide Receiver In 2023?

Will Utah have a 1,000 yard receiver next year under new WR coach Alvis Whitted?
8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...
KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.
KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.
Football soccer ball on grass field on stadium...
KSL Digital Sales

Everything You Need to Know to Watch the 2022 World Cup

Find out where and when to watch the upcoming games and final match for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, including where to find live updates.
ksl sports logos...
KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.
KSL Sports

Win Tickets Wednesday: Jimmy Buffett

Get your Hawaiian shirts ready.
Iron Maiden tour...
KSL Sports

Win Tickets Wednesday: Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden returns to Utah in 2022 with The Legacy of the Beast tour.
Unrivaled: Does The Pac-12 Even Want To Be Part Of The College Football Playoff?