It's not even November, and it's like rocket science trying to figure out some roundabout path for a Pac-12 team to reach the College Football Playoff.
Odds are it won't happen. And even if it does (because this team upset that team and this one unexpectedly fell to that one and somehow UW gets in...) that's not the point.
It shouldn't have to be that way to begin with.
We're now in the fourth year of a four-team playoff: A marginal upgrade from the BCS, simply because it's a system that continues to completely ignore the fact that there are five Power Conferences in this country. Five. And with four spots, at least one Power 5 champ will be left out of the mix EVERY SINGLE YEAR.
Guys, we don’t need Einstein to figure this out. Just a little common sense. And that's what continues to be left behind in a current system that gives certain conferences an unfair advantage.
Case-in-point: Schools in the SEC and ACC schedule eight conference games. Everyone else has nine. Now name two of the three conferences that's had a representative in the Final Four every year. That's right: The SEC and the ACC.
So the PAC-12 sits here and eats its own – beating itself up year after year - with nine conference games, putting itself on an uneven playing field in its quest to reach the playoff. Rather than bemoaning that fact, why can't we continue to lobby for a playoff system that rewards the conference champion for surviving that gauntlet? A system that rewards all five conferences by giving each champion a shot at the national title?
How much better would it be for a Huskies or Cougars fan to have a singular focus - to know that their playoff dream isn't dead because of something that happens in Norman, Oklahoma or Fort Worth, Texas? To know that if they hoist the PAC-12 Trophy over their heads in early December, they're guaranteed a seat at the national championship table? It's not too much to ask.
We've discussed possible solutions here before, and I still think the best one is a simple step away: Eight teams, including all five Power Conference champs. Three at-large berths, determined by the Selection Committee, which then seeds the teams based on overall resume and performance, 1 thru 8. Quarterfinals, Semifinals, National Title Game. Use the bowl system if necessary, but just get it done.
There’s no reason to expand to 16 or 32 teams. Mike Leach is out of his mind wanting a 64-team system. But eight teams is just right. It doesn’t dilute the regular season, it rewards championships, and it goes a long way in preventing East Coast Bias because the Pac-12 will be represented every year.
Unfortunately, Jon Wilner of the Mercury News doesn’t think that’ll happen until the current contract expires – that the conference commissioners have zero interest in expanding short term.
But the contract expires in 2025! That’s eight more years of frustration before something MIGHT happen. Which is also 27 years since the start of the BCS – the first feeble attempt to crown a national champion.
Progress comes slowly? Even a snail thinks that’s an understatement.