Pac-12 College Football Playoff

Recently, Larry Scott said it was “painful” that the Pac-12 once again missed College Football Playoffs. It’s a regular lament because it seems like the Pac-12 is always left out. Every college football fan, athlete or staffer knows that the Pac-12 is the odd one out. Washington and Oregon are the only teams from the Pac-12 to make it. Just 2 out of 24. Not good for the Pac-12.

So, the idea of expanding the college playoffs or bringing more parity to the selection process sounds perfect. First off, College Football Playoffs are a huge success. It was a long time coming and fans of all programs and divisions love it. With a four-team playoff, rather than selecting just two teams, college football moved to greater competition. From that, it was easier to conclude with the rightful champion.

Now, in its sixth year of success playoffs, the FBS needs to evolve further. For the sake of fans, collegiate programs and football itself.

Expand College Football Playoffs to Eight Teams

First off, the easiest way to increase the likelihood of crowning the just champion is to increase the sample size. Honestly, the NFL has 32 teams and still lets 12 into the playoffs. On the other hand, the FBS has 130 football programs (64 from Power-Five conferences) and only selects four. From such an abundant source of talent and diversity, the current four-team playoffs is restrictive.

Considering how slow and/or unwilling college football is to change, it’s best to keep an expansion small. Adjusting College Football Playoffs from four teams to six or eight is ideal. With six teams, the first and second-ranked teams are afforded a bye. Essentially, With eight teams, playoffs would be similar to the NCAA basketball tournament seeding. But, drastically smaller.

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With each set up, there would be three rounds of College Football Playoffs. This would work best for multiple reasons. First, as said above, expanding to more teams gives college football a clearer, less controversial champion. Additionally, it would add to revenue. As everyone knows, the NCAA loves money (even though it only pays college athletes more than a 550 dollar gift for bowl participation). So, instead of just three playoff games, there would be five to seven. Fundamentally doubling the amount of big-time matches and viewers.

Does Larry Scott support expansion?

Yes. But also no.

“I completely get that it would really release the pressure of being the one that’s been on the outside looking in the most in the first six years to say that automatically we’ve got our champion [in],” Scott said Thursday. “But we also have agreements through 2026 [the championship game] that I think will be very challenging for us to all agree how we’re going to amend and change.”

Larry Scott

Even though expanding playoffs to six or eight teams increases the odds the Pac-12 makes it in, Larry Scott needs a guarantee. He supports an eight team expansion only if each Power-Five conference champion gets a spot in the tournament. This makes sense for Scott because he wants to end the Pac-12’s embarrassing record of playoff participation.

However, he’s wrong in his idea. For two major reasons. First and foremost, expanding the playoffs automatically helps the Pac-12. It lowers the risk of a Pac-12 snub. Because the Pac-12 has little leverage in the situation, he can’t ask for more. Additionally, he’s misguided because mandating that each Power-Five conference champion gets in lowers college football parity. What if the overall competition of the ACC or Big Ten was significantly lower than Pac-12, SEC or Big 12? That hurts the playoff picture.

Granted, an eight-team playoff model like Ross Dellenger depicted would be extremely exciting. Five auto-bids, two at-large and one group of five sounds excellent. Nonetheless, greater freedom in selection creates a chance for greater competition.

Larry Scott refuses to give up the Rose Bowl

Also, of note, Larry Scott and the Pac-12 would be protective of the Rose Bowl. Yes, history is on his side. The Rose Bowl and the Pac-12 have over a century of history together. Nonetheless, Scott needs to be willing to change, to adapt and to give in order to gain. Yes, the Rose Bowl means a great deal for Pac-12 fans. It’s a monumental bowl game. With that being said, the audience would grow substantially if the Rose Bowl had greater competition. If the FBS combined the Rose Bowl, college football’s oldest bowl game, with playoffs each year, ratings and excitement would follow.

Yes, Scott and the Pac-12 have every right to be protective of the Rose Bowl. It’s ours. However, in order to increase the chance of a Pac-12 champion, the Pac-12 must be willing to sacrifice it’s most historic safety blanket. Keep in mind, there could also be a happy medium. If a Pac-12 team gets into the playoffs, they could get automatic entry into the Rose Bowl game. And if they missed the six or eight team playoff selection, they would sacrifice the Rose Bowl. It’s a risk, but one the Pac-12 needs to take.

Play at Least 10 Power-Five Opponents

In addition to Scott, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby also added his own idea. Bowlsby suggested a new requirement for College Football Playoff selection.

  • Each Power-Five team has to play at least ten Power-Five opponents

Excluding conference championship games, only Clemson and Oklahoma played nine, regular season, Power-Five opponents. Ohio State chose to play Florida Atlantic, Cincinnati, and the Miami Redhawks. Likewise, LSU scheduled Georgia Southern, Northwestern State, and Utah State. If they played one more Power-Five team, it’s completely possible they would have an additional loss.

In order to make College Football Playoffs, each team selected needs to have at least ten (excluding conference championships) games against Power-Five opponents. If 2018 Notre Dame can do it, any program should be able to.

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