The Pac-12 may be having a football season in 2020, but that doesn’t guarantee that the conference will end its three-year hiatus from the College Football Playoff.
Since its inception for the 2014-15 season, only Oregon and Washington have represented the Pac-12 in college football’s final four, the last coming in 2016-17.
And four years later, the conference may very well be on the outside looking in when the selection committee chooses the nation’s top four teams to compete for college football’s biggest prize.
On Thursday, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott joined Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta to discuss the possibility of the conference ending its playoff drought.
“I absolutely think we have a shot — very little margin for error,” Scott said. “It certainly appears to me that if we have an undefeated champion that looks really good then the process will get serious consideration.”
Scott added that because the conference is only playing seven games — including championship week — the Pac-12 is “behind the eight-ball” of other teams in other conferences that may be playing 9-10 games.
“You’re going to have every conference playing different numbers of games,” Scott said. “Importantly, there are no non-conference games to speak of, which is usually an important measuring stick comparing one conference to another.”
After having his expansion proposal rejected last week, the Pac-12 commissioner argued that the 2020 coronavirus-shortened season would be the year to expand the playoff to eight teams as an experiment for the future of college football’s postseason.
“I thought it was obvious this was a year we should be nimble, we should experiment, we should try, we can get feedback from people,” Scott said.
“But more importantly than that, there’s merit to creating a more even playing field in a year where you’re going to have a disparate number of games conference by conference…”
The Pac-12 commissioner said that the reason for the rejection of his proposal was due to a lack of time and excitement among all the parties that were involved. He added that expanding the playoff was not the consensus of the group.
Scott also said that he spoke to other conference commissioners, stating that they said it was too complicated to figure out.
“We’ll continue discussing playoff expansion as a possibility for the future but I would have liked to have seen us try it this year.”