Larry Scott on playoff expansion helping the Pac-12: “We just have to get better”

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The path is narrowing. Week by week, team by team, loses are piling up for the Pac-12’s potential playoff contenders.

Week One: Oregon loses to Auburn.

Week Two: Washington loses to Cal.

Week Three: USC loses at Brigham Young.

Week Four: Utah loses at USC.

The end result is a conference with just three undefeated teams (as of 6 p.m. Saturday) and an ever-narrowing path into the semifinals.

Unless a dominant team emerges from the parity, the Pac-12 will miss the College Football Playoff for the third time in four years and fourth time in six.

Of all the Power Five conferences, the Pac-12 would seem most in need of an expanded playoff that grants an automatic berth to its champion.

While commissioner Larry Scott told the Hotline this week that he’s “open to looking at” expansion, he believes the conference’s focus should be internal.

“The first thing I’d say,” Scott said, “is that we have to do better in football. We have to have elite teams break through.”

Scott referenced the current AP top-25 poll, which includes six Pac-12 teams, as a sign of the conference’s quality depth.

But no team is in the top five and Utah, the top-ranked entry at No. 10, will tumble following the loss to USC.

When the AP poll is released Sunday morning, the conference might not have a team in the top 12.

The playoff reality doesn’t look kindly on quality depth.

“It’s become, for many people, did you make the playoff or not? And that is what it is,” Scott said. “Maybe that’s an unintended consequence or byproduct, but I think it’s a fair assessment of the reality.

“So we’ve got to more frequently have teams in the playoff. …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Sports


‘I think they have something special to prove to the rest of the world’: Athletics Hall of Famers evaluate the 2019 Athletics’

OAKLAND — A sea of green jackets populated the back halls of Oakland Coliseum’s Treehouse Saturday afternoon. Five new names were inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame — Vida Blue, Tony La Russa, Bert Campaneris, former owner Walter A. Haas, Jr. and Mark McGwire.

A green jacket wasn’t necessary to spot the crew of legendary Athletics, all or most still rocking some variations of their signature looks. Rollie Fingers’ curled mustache, Dennis Eckersley’s long shag and ‘stache, Mark McGwire’s goatee, Dave Stewart’s steely, competitive stare.

McGwire, once reclusive with media, fielded questions from press for 15 minutes about his strong legacy with two teams, how he and Sammy Sosa “revived baseball” following the 1994 players’ strike, their home run battle quickly transforming into global spectacle and batting practice a private show for a select 25,000.

Life as a father raising a few future ball players, sons Max (first baseman) and Mason (pitcher, with a devastating splitter), has kept McGwire a little removed from the big league game — though, he knows and is impressed by Peter Alonso, who just set a new rookie record for home runs McGwire previously held. But a couple new inductees are paying close attention. Blue and Campaneris shared their thoughts on the 2019 A’s.

Have you kept up with the A’s this year? What’s stood out to you?

Campy: “I watch them all the time, I have my channels set up so I can watch Oakland, Angels, Texas and the Yankees (all the teams Campaneris played for in his 19-year career). But my favorite is Oakland. They have a good chance this year, they’re playing good.”

Blue: “I’ve been watching them the last couple years. They’re in the shadows of the Houston Astros with 90-plus wins again like they had last year. I think, in a sense, it might be …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Sports


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