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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