A few years ago PAC12 and B1G initiated an
inter-conferance series of games. The agreement ended most as quickly as it began. Utah vs Michigan was one of the only mini series that was played. One factor for cancelling the agreement was the PAC12 9 game conference schedule.
Strength of schedules factors in the playoff selection process. Utah, Oregon are criticized for low SOS, making the possibility either winning out and being selected conditional on the right combination of game outcomes.
Right now Alabama has the weakest SOS in the P5, but because the SEC backloads games between its strongest teams their SOS will go up the next couple weeks, and if they win out they will be in.
Recent playoff history, east coast biases, fan interest tilt the selection process in favor of the SEC, Clemson, and B1G. How can the PAC12 become a yearly participant in the championship? Gotta get in to have a chance to win and build credibility.
Two ideas immediately come to mind:
1- As a group the PAC12 needs to up its game scheduling, SOS. The conference doesn’t have enough game cred to keep scheduling Idaho St, etc. It’s time to at least temporarily agree to schedule at least 1 other P5 and no D2, (or whatever they call these teams currently.) The 1 A, 1 B,1 C scheduling strategy used by Utah and some other PAC12 teams needs to stop. Rather, the conference needs to schedule more like $C.
Having 1 conference early season marquee game, UW, Oregon vs Auburn the last two years, isn’t near enough. The conference can stand to lose one of these if there are three more they win.
2 The conference needs to consider John Wilner’s recomendations like strategically scheduling intra-conference games.
(The nine game schedule is daunting and isn’t changing. The North teams demand yearly access ro So Cal.)
The conference can consider backloading to schedule strongest teams towards the end of the season to drive interest. No more scheduling like Utah facing a travel game to UW after UW has a bye week.
Backloading critical contests will get teams playing prime time instead of PAC12 after dark. More eyes on the games, including poll voters.
PAC12 has a recent poor bowl game win/loss record, no selection in the four team championship. They face an uphill battle to get in. Until they win games against strong opponents the conference will remain on the periphery.